Ex-linebacker sues Notre Dame over spinal scan results

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Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish leaves the field after a game against the Temple Owls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 2, 2017 in South Bend, Indiana. The Irish won 49-16. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A former linebacker has filed a lawsuit against Notre Dame, claiming the university concealed the results of a spinal scan from him and that he has potentially permanent nerve damage to his neck.

The Indianapolis Star reports that Douglas Randolph filed the complaint this month in St. Joseph Circuit Court, naming coach Brian Kelly among the defendants. Randolph says he shouldn’t have been allowed to continue playing during the 2015 season. The complaint says he was later diagnosed with spinal stenosis. It doesn’t specify damages being sought.

Paul Brown, a spokesman for Notre Dame, said the university had no immediate comment.

The suit says Randolph was hit during a practice drill and “suffered numbness.” The complaint says symptoms continued after every impact on the field.

The 24th-ranked Fighting Irish are preparing for a high-profile home game Saturday against No. 15 Georgia. It’s the second game of a pivotal season for Kelly after Notre Dame went 4-8 last year. The head coach spent the offseason overhauling his coaching staff.

Kelly has at times been criticized for making blunt public assessments of his players and throwing tantrums on the sideline that are often caught on television, but there have been no public accusations of player mistreatment.

How injuries are handled by football programs and coaching staffs, and how players are treated has become a more frequent topic in college football as the NCAA has put more emphasis on athlete welfare issues.

Illinois fired coach Tim Beckman in 2015 after a school investigation found he mishandled injured players and deterred players from reporting injuries. Indiana parted ways with coach Kevin Wilson last year after complaints of player mistreatment were investigated by the school.

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