Because of a diagnosis of spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spine), Doug Randolph was forced to retire from football in March of 2016 after Notre Dame’s medical personnel failed to clear him for an on-field return. Fast-forward a year and a half, and the former Fighting Irish linebacker is now claiming that he should’ve been prevented by the program from playing months earlier.
According to the Indianapolis Star, Randolph has filed suit against, among others, head coach Brian Kelly, with the Star writing that the former player is “alleging that results of a spinal scan were concealed from him and that he should not have been allowed to continue playing.”
The suit alleges that Randolph first suffered numbness during a September 2015 practice, but was cleared by trainer Rob Hunt to return to minutes later. The crux of Randolph’s case stems from the aftermath of that initial incident. From the Star:
The lawsuit states that Randolph’s symptoms continued after every impact he experienced on the field.
He had an MRI, and Hunt and a team doctor told Randolph it was safe for him to continue playing, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit says neither the imaging nor the results of the scan were given to Randolph. Randolph says his symptoms worsened during the season.
“If he had been told the truth about the results of this MRI scan, his football career would have ended on that date and all subsequent injuries and permanent damage he has endured would have never occurred,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit further claims that, during the Jan. 1, 2016, Fiesta Bowl, Randolph suffered what was described as complete numbness in all four extremities following a hit. “He informed Hunt, who told him to ‘continue playing’ and ‘get back in the game,'” the newspaper wrote, citing the complaint.
A series of doctor visits after that bowl game led to one doctor independent of the university determining that Randolph has “possible, if not probable, permanent nerve damage in his neck that had occurred as a result of continuing to play college football” beyond the September of 2015 incident. Not long after that determination, Randolph was medically disqualified by the football program.
It should be noted that Randolph remained on scholarship and graduated from the university this past spring with a degree in management consulting. Additionally, Randolph served as a student assistant coach on Kelly’s football staff for the 2016 season after he was medically disqualified.