ROCK HILL, S.C. (WJZY) – The father of the former NFL player who shot and killed six people in Rock Hill, South Carolina before killing himself in 2021 is accusing his son’s college of failing to take the necessary precautions and educate players against head injuries.
In April of 2021, authorities say Phillip Adams shot and killed six people before turning the gun on himself. A coroner later determined in Phillip’s autopsy that the former NFL cornerback had Stage Two Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), an unusually severe form of the degenerative brain disease that has been shown to cause violent mood swings and memory loss.
According to the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS), CTE is a brain condition suspected to be connected to repeated head injuries.
The wrongful death lawsuit from Alonzo Adams, below, states that while his son was on South Carolina State University’s football team between 2006 to 2009, and during his career in the NFL, Phillip sustained head trauma.
The suit continues that the university did not have proper policies and procedures in place to ensure players’ safety, did not train employees properly, lacked a safe environment, and failed to educate Phillip and other players about head trauma and what issues can arise after being injured.
Alonzo claims that due to the university’s alleged negligence, Phillip was injured, leading to his decline and death. The suit is on behalf of Phillip’s son and is based on the impact losing his father had on him.
Sam Watson, a spokesman for South Carolina State University, told The Associated Press the institution does not comment on current or pending litigation.
He also sustained “head trauma” during his six years as a professional cornerback, according to the complaint. During a three-game span with the then-Oakland Raiders in 2012, Phillip had two concussions. Phillip spent time with multiple NFL teams after being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2010.
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Because he didn’t retire by 2014, he would not have been eligible for testing included in a broad settlement between the league and former players over long-lasting concussion-related injuries.
An agent has previously told The Associated Press that the Phillip did not participate in other physical and mental health programs available for ex-players.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.