With new coordinator Lane Kiffin on board, Alabama’s offense is off to a prolific and potentially historic start.
Thanks to Kiffin’s past, however, an issue has popped up that’ll serve as at least a minor inconvenience, if not an outright distraction.
Multiple media outlets reported late Monday night that Brian Baucham filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court Monday in which Kiffin and his former employer, USC, are named as defendants. The Los Angeles Times writes that the former Trojan football player claimed in the suit that Kiffin and the school “were negligent by forcing him to play in a game when he was ill and that they did not follow the school’s injury-plan guidelines, leaving Baucham with cardiopulmonary damage and brain injury.”
On September 22 of 2012, nearly a year to the day prior to Kiffin being fired as USC’s head coach, Baucham fell ill during a game against Cal and was taken from the stadium to a local hospital via ambulance. He remained in the intensive care unit on a ventilator for two days before being released a short time later. He never played another down of football.
The lawsuit also claims that USC medical personnel told the player he was in no condition to play, but that the coaching staff played him anyway. “USC and head coach Kiffin were clearly negligent and acted with conscious disregard for Brian’s welfare and safety by forcing him to play … despite his verified medical history and seriously ill condition,” one of Baucham’s lawyers, Bruce M. Brusavich, told the Associated Press.
The suit is seeking unspecified damages for the former cornerback, who just recently received his degree from the university.
Kiffin has declined to comment on the suit, while USC’s athletic director offered the Times a very generic statement.
“It wouldn’t be appropriate for us to comment on this lawsuit, and due to privacy laws we cannot comment on the specifics of this case,” Pat Haden said. “I will say that I am confident that we provide excellent medical treatment to our student athletes and that their health is always our primary concern ahead of any athletic competition.”
This isn’t the first time USC is facing a lawsuit over an ex-player’s medical claims. In a lawsuit filed in late August of 2012, former USC defensive tackle Armond Armstead claimed that “team doctors repeatedly administered a painkiller to him that gave him a heart attack, and that after he recovered the school blocked his attempts to transfer and cost him a shot at the National Football League.”
Armstead wasn’t selected in the 2012 NFL draft, nor did he sign as an undrafted rookie that year. After brief stints with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts (2012) and the New England Patriots (2013), Armstead retired from football in July of this year.