Alonzo Adams, the father of former NFL player Phillip Adams, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university where his son played football from 2006 to 2009. The lawsuit alleges “negligence, carelessness, recklessness, willfulness, and wantonness” for failing to provide players with better protection and education on head trauma.
In April 2021, Phillip Adams reportedly shot and killed six people in Rock Hill, South Carolina, before killing himself. An autopsy later revealed that Adams suffered from severe Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in both frontal lobes of his brain. The degenerative brain disease has been linked to repeated blows to the head and has been shown to cause violent mood swings and memory loss in some cases. Adams’ family told officials he had complained of excruciating pain, memory issues and difficulty sleeping, according to Dr. Sabrina Gast, the coroner for York County in South Carolina. (RELATED: Police Say They’re Searching For Motive After Former NFL Player Philip Adams Allegedly Killed Five People)
Adams’ father is now arguing that his son’s alma mater, South Carolina State University, failed to adhere to protocols and did not have enough staff available to treat the continual head trauma Adams suffered during his college football career. Because of this, the lawsuit states, SC State is responsible for Phillip developing CTE and taking the lives of six individuals along with his own.
The law firm representing Adams’ estate told WCNC Charlotte that the goal of filing the lawsuit was to not only protect the family’s interests, but to “bring attention to the health and safety of football players.”
The NFL veteran defensive back played for the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons from 2010 to 2015. During a three-game span with the Raiders in 2012, Adams suffered two concussions. Because he didn’t retire by 2014, he would not have been eligible for testing included as part of a settlement between the NFL and former players over long-lasting concussion-related injuries.
Phillip’s agent previously told The Associated Press that Adams did not participate in other physical and mental health programs available for ex-players through the NFL and its players’ union.
Alonzo Adams is seeking a jury trial and a sum of money to be determined by the court.