A Florida high school football player who went down with a seemingly routine knee injury during a game Friday night had to have part of his leg amputated two days later.
Northeast High School senior defensive lineman Leshawn Williams — who was stretchered off the field during Friday's game — woke up from surgery Sunday to find out part of his right leg had been removed just above the knee, according to the St. Pete Times.
Bonita Copeland, Williams' mother, did not tell her 17-year-old 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.
Copeland did not attend the game, but received a call soon after her son was injured.
"They put him on the phone with me and he told me he was in pain," said Copeland.
"… 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, because of complications, the decision to amputate from just above the damaged knee was made Sunday night, reported the newspaper.
Copeland is questioning the arrival time of paramedics. She said the wait was "somewhere between 20 to 30 minutes" at the field before he was finally transported to the hospital.
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.
"You hear that it's one thing, an MCL, then the next thing you hear he's going to lose his leg," teammate Devin Bowers said. "How do you go from something that can be fixed to losing your leg? It doesn't make sense."