Andy Hodges

After injury, Williams, family set to meet this week with school officials on future

When Rawleigh Williams III hit the ground Saturday and didn’t move, the sinking feeling crashed like a wave that it might be the last time he’s in a Razorback uniform.


When Rawleigh Williams III hit the ground Saturday and didn’t move, the sinking feeling crashed like a wave that it might be the last time he’s in a Razorback uniform.

It was a fleeting feeling. One of those things that just goes flying over you.

With Williams, though, there was a reason. His injury two years ago was frightening. He had surgery then to replace and fuse a ruptured disc in the upper part of his neck.

There are people in wheelchairs that have had those types of injuries.

According to every medical person I’ve ever talked to over the years, neurological issues can almost never be made as good as new. They are always open to recurrences.

It is usually manifested in concussions. After the first one, the second one doesn’t require nearly the same impact and it keeps progressing from there. Anything in the head and neck area appears to be that way.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is well aware of that.

“That’s probably the part of my job — everybody says, ‘What keeps you up at night?’ he said Saturday after the Razorbacks’ final practice of the spring. “Those are the things that keep me up at night, just my players’ well-being. So we’ll cross that bridge when it comes.”

For those that didn’t see the play, Williams bumped into McTelvin Agim on a non-tackling running play and fell to the ground.

He told Agim, “I can’t move.”

To just about anyone, that is scary enough. It rattled most of the players and coaches on the field.

For Williams’ family, who was in attendance, it had to be downright frightening.

His mother, Kim, was “emotional, as any mom would be,” Bielema said later.

That is why the family will be heavily involved in this decision-making process.

Williams has undergone more medical testing since the Saturday incident, which UA officials said medical personnel described as a “stinger.”

Williams had the feeling back in all of his extremities while he was on the turf and said he was “embarrassed” at not being allowed to jump to his feet.

According to a story by Tom Murphy of, there will be a meeting soon:

Tailback Rawleigh Williams and members of his family will huddle with the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville medical team and Coach Bret Bielema this week to go over his latest medical tests and discuss his future, a source with knowledge of the situation told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Tuesday.

University officials expect to make an announcement on Williams’ status at some point next week, the source said.

Considering the gravity of the injury, Rawleigh Williams’ football playing days may be over.

And, Razorback fans, you can be disappointed. Maybe even a little angry over the bad luck.

But you can’t criticize the decision.

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