Navy slotback Will McKamey in coma after collapse at practice

By DON MARKUS | The Baltimore Sun | Published: March 24, 2014

Navy football player Will McKamey remained in critical condition Sunday at Maryland Shock Trauma, one day after he sustained a brain injury during a spring practice in Annapolis, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Kara McKamey posted on Facebook Saturday that her 19-year-old son was in a coma and had shown "very little response."

McKamey, a 5-9, 170-pound rising sophomore slotback from Knoxville, Tenn. underwent surgery Saturday to reduce the bleeding and swelling on his brain. It is the third brain injury McKamey had sustained playing football in the past 18 months.

As a senior at Grace Christian Academy, where his father, Randy, is the head football coach, McKamey was injured during a playoff game in October of 2012 and was transported to a hospital in Chattanooga, where he remained in intensive care for several days.

McKamey, who was later chosen as the state's top running back among Class A schools, did not play again for his high school team after the first injury, but was cleared by doctors in Tennessee to continue his football career. He had also reportedly suffered a concussion earlier that season.

A Naval Academy spokesman said Sunday all candidates for service academies as well as ROTC programs and other programs such as Officer Candidate School are given extensive pre-admission physicals.

Commander John Schofield said "the standards for medical qualification for commissioned program in the military" are done through the Department of Defense's Medical Examination Review Board [DODMERB].

"If something's identified in that evaluation or physical that requires a waiver, then you go through the waiver process," Schofield said. "I don't know if he [McKamey] needed one or if he signed one or if one exists."

Schofield said there was no change in McKamey's condition Sunday and a large contingent of "his Navy family," including head coach Ken Niumatalolo, "a slew of" teammates and athletic director Chet Gladchuk had gone to Shock Trauma to support the family.

"Obviously everyone is extremely concerned and our primary thoughts are with him and his family; that goes without saying," Schofield said. "I'm quite sure there's an outpouring of support, as there should be there."

No surgery was performed following the October 2012 injury, and McKamey reportedly spent several days in the hospital being monitored. A Knoxville television station reported that McKamey had sustained a concussion earlier that season.

The McKameys flew to Baltimore Saturday after being informed about their son's injury.

On his Twitter account, Randy McKamey posted Saturday: "Not sure I have the strength to go through this again" and later tweeted, "I have no words to express my gratitude for the prayers. Wills situation is still not good. Please pray harder than ever before for the healing."

The younger McKamey was injured during a morning practice, the first since spring practice began Wednesday during which the players wore pads. Niumatalolo ended practice after the injury occurred, an athletic department spokesman wrote in a text to the Baltimore Sun Saturday.


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