Northeast High Football Player Leshawn Williams Has Leg Amputated After Injury
Northeast High School senior defensive lineman Leshawn Williams went down with a severe, yet seemingly routine knee injury in a football game Friday night.
Before the weekend was over, part of the 17-year-old’s right leg had been amputated.
Bonita Copeland, Williams’ mother, did not tell her son about the amputation until after the surgery.
“I don’t think he’s grasped it all yet,” Copeland said. “He’s still recovering. We’re all still trying to understand it.”
The 6-foot, 330-pound Williams was injured on a fourth-down defensive play late in the first half of Northeast’s 42-30 victory at Clearwater High. The game was delayed almost half an hour while medical personnel tried to determine if he had a broken leg or ligament damage. He was eventually taken off the field on a stretcher and to All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine at his mother’s request. He was later moved to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.
“… When I first looked at it, it looked like he had an MCL injury. Every time he lifted his knee he had pain. Then you could see the blood clot in the back of his knee.”
Williams had tweeted Saturday that he couldn’t move his toes: “I never cried so much in life! Waiting on results! Cnt (sic) move my toes.”
Doctors spent the weekend trying to re-establish circulation in Williams’ lower leg, and the decision to amputate from just above the knee was made Sunday night.
Leshawn’s mother also takes issue with the response time of the paramedics, saying they took “20-30 minutes” to arrive on the scene.
While football games do have certified trainers in attendance, it is not unusual for public school athletic events in Pinellas County to not have ambulances on site. Due to budget cuts in recent years, the district does not provide them. Schools, however, can pay to have ambulances at games, with the cost usually around $450.
“My biggest concern was the response time,” Copeland said. “I think if the ambulance got there sooner they probably could’ve helped him. … What if somebody broke their neck and was laying down on the field? With my son, it was a freak accident and it could’ve been something worse.
“Even though my son lost his leg, I’m happy he’s still here. But the sooner the response time, the better.”
Dr. Koco Eaton, a St. Petersburg orthopedic surgeon, said considering the severity of the injury, response time may not have mattered.
“It sounds as if the blood vessels were just shredded,” Eaton said. “I don’t believe an hour would’ve made a difference. Now, if you would’ve said two or three hours, then maybe.”
Hopefully Leshawn makes a full recovery, sounds like his mama is setting the table for a nice lil’ lawsuit.
Image via Northeast High School