Arkansas star running back leaves practice in ambulance
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) A year and a half after he broke his neck in a game, Arkansas running back Rawleigh Williams suffered another injury scare when he was taken away in an ambulance from a Razorbacks practice on Saturday.
Williams was injured prior to an Arkansas scrimmage, falling to the ground after a light hit and remaining there afterward. He was able to move his fingers before being loaded onto a stretcher and cart, and the university announced his injury as a ”stinger.”
Following the completion of the scrimmage, Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema said the early indications about Williams’ injury were ”very, very positive.”
”Obviously, a huge scare out there,” Bielema said. ”With his history and everything that goes into it, it seems to be something unrelated. I don’t want to speak out of turn, so we’ll wait until we get confirmation.”
Williams led Arkansas and was third in the Southeastern Conference with 1,360 yards rushing last season, also rushing for 12 touchdowns. That came after the 5-foot-10 226-pound running back suffered a broken neck in a game against Auburn as a freshman in 2015.
Following his injury on Saturday, Williams’ teammates huddled in silence at midfield inside the Walker Pavilion – where the Razorbacks were holding their final practice of the spring after the school’s Red-White game was canceled because of inclement weather.
”It’s just something you never want to happen to anyone, but especially Rawleigh because it’s his second time,” Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen said. ”It’s one of those things where he’s always in the back of your mind during practice and all our thoughts were on him.”
Trainers took off Williams’ jersey and pads before taking him to the waiting ambulance, and Bielema said the junior had movement in all of his extremities.
Williams’ family came onto the field while trainers were preparing him for the ride to the hospital. Among those family members were Williams’ mother, Kim, who Bielema said was ”emotional.”
It was Williams’ mother who was uncertain about her son’s return to football following his broken neck, though doctors eventually convinced her, Bielema and Williams that he wasn’t at any increased risk for another neck injury.
That figures to be a conversation that is had once again after Saturday’s injury, even if Williams is deemed to be completely healthy.
”As far as the future or anything like that, I really don’t have any idea of what that may entail or things we’ve got to discuss,” Bielema said. ”But his health and safety is always going to be priority No. 1.”