What’s happened with Thompson at the time he was taken to the hospital last week and what may be in store for him down the road is pretty interesting, not so much for what it says about Thompson, but for what it might indicate about how the bureaucracy now interacts with the football program.
Read what Chip Towers now reports about how the police handled the incident.
The new report – notably described as “sick person” under “Investigative Type” — is from Sgt. Seth Robinson. He is introduced as “a drug recognition expert and emergency medical responder.”
Robinson was on the scene and is represented on body-cam footage viewed by DawgNation. Initially, Robinson reports that he believes they’re dealing with a person under the influence of drugs. He cites Thompson’s “dazed state,” “red eyes” and non-reactive pupils.
“Based on my training (Thompson’s behavior) could be caused by drug use,” specifically, “narcotic analgesics,” Robinson writes.
Then Robinson stipulates, and the body cam footage corroborates, that Thompson doesn’t actually say that he took “OxyContin,” as was stated in the initial report. He’s asked if he has taken “any pain pills” and Thompson answers yes. Asked how many he says”two.” Asked what kind, he responds “yeah” only after Robinson mentions “Oxies.”
But it’s also important to realize that Thompson was virtually incoherent at this point and largely unresponsive. After determining that Thompson is a football player, Robinson and other officers are concerned that he may be suffering from a possible head injury incurred during practice or in a fight.
Eventually, though, Robinson got around to taking Thompson’s pulse. When he does he is “surprised” to find it at 120 beats a minute, which is “not consistent with narcotic analgesics.” And they learn from a call to Bryant Gantt of UGA athletics that Thompson is “on some medication” prescribed by team doctors.
Finally, Robinson makes a very significant conclusion at the end of his supplemental report:
“I advised Lt. Gregory that even though he admitted to having taken OxyContin that I believed at this point something else was also taking place and causing the medical emergency. … Based on the information we obtained from athletics staff and what was observed, I believed there to be multiple issues and without knowing exactly what he was taking a determination of exactly what was going on would not be possible.”
Again, this is from an employee of the same UGAPD that once arrested a player for refusing to give his middle name. Has somebody kidnapped Jimmy Williamson and replaced him with a pod person? Compared with past approaches we’ve seen with interaction between football players and the local cops, the humanity and professionalism on display there is jarring. Don’t tell me that if this had happened two or three years ago, we wouldn’t be looking at a mug shot instead of learning that Thompson was struggling with a medical problem.
So, it’s worth considering what’s going on here.
Add to that what Thompson faces when he’s ready to rejoin the team.
One key component to all this will be whether Thompson can maintain his academic eligibility in the meantime. As we all know, student-athletes are required to complete a minimum amount of class credits toward their degree each year in order to remain eligible to compete in athletics. Thompson having to sit out spring semester has to be detrimental in that regard.
However, NCAA rules and regulations allow for schools to pursue a “progress-toward-degree” waiver to restore eligibility for competition. According to the NCAA’s official website, To qualify for such a waiver, “institutions must document the mitigating circumstances that caused the deficiency. A common circumstance is a student-athlete facing a serious medical issue or other personal hardship.”
Yeah, I know — UGA and NCAA consideration have not always been a winning combination. But I will say there is some precedent for the school supporting its players in a medical context with the NCAA, as Ron Courson was dogged in his pursuit of getting Kolton Houston reinstated. It will be interesting to see how purposefully organized the school is with Thompson’s waiver effort.
Maybe things really are getting better. It’s not like stranger things haven’t happened.