On the weekend of September 11 you would think USC football coach Pete Carroll had enough to do without taking an interest in the injury to a high school player.
But the day after returning from USC’s game at Ohio State Carroll visited stricken Santa Monica High junior Cody Williams at UCLA’s Reagan Medical Center.
And since then Carroll has kept in phone touch with Williams’ mother.
I regularly attend Carroll’s weekly media session and after the general question period ended on Tuesday I called him aside to inquire because I had been told of the coach’s visit.
I asked Carroll if he visited a Santa Monica High player who had suffered a serious spine injury that weekend.
“Oh, yes, Cody Williams,” he replied.
I asked how he even knew about the injury and he said a friend had told him. Upon hearing the news he put a hospital visit on his Monday schedule.
Carroll has been receiving updates and said Williams had a rough time early in the week but then showed improvement.
Santa Monica High coach Travis Clark has also been deeply touched by Williams’ injury.
“Wherever I coach from this day forward no player on my team will ever wear number 14,” he said. “Not only will Samohi retire that number this season, it will be retired in Cody’s honor on any future team I coach.”
It’s a goal that Williams will be able to walk onto the field to participate in the coin toss for the first game of next season, but doctors estimate a wait of six to 12 months before a diagnosis will be made.