Wisconsin running back Montee Ball is recovering from a concussion he suffered early Wednesday morning when he was attacked by five men on a Madison street.
“Appreciate everyone reaching out concerned about Montee and his health,” Coach Bret Bielema tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “He walked into my office this afternoon and will be with us Sunday [when players report].”
Ball also suffered facial injuries and it is not clear whether he will be allowed to participate in the team’s first practice Monday afternoon. He tweeted to Wisconsin tight end Jacob Pederson: “yeah man looking forward to getting back with all of you guys! have to stay close.”
According to the Madison police report, Ball was and two friends were walking on a Madison street at around 2:15 a.m. Wednesday when five men jumped Ball, who was trailing his friends. They knocked him to the ground and kicked him in the head and chest.
“We have no reason to believe this was anything other than an unprovoked attack,” Joel De Spain, the public information officer for the Madison Police Department, told JSOnline. It is not yet known whether Ball, who told police he did not know the attackers, was targeted because of his high profile. There have been several incidents in the area and police had increased the number of officers on patrol on weekends, according to JSOnline.
Ball’s profile increased significantly last season, when he was Ball, a Heisman Trophy finalist and tied Barry Sanders’ NCAA single-season record with 39 touchdowns, rushing for 1,923 yards.
“A lot of people notice me now,” he said last week at Big Ten media day. “Before they didn't know who I was outside of my football gear. Now they know immediately. . . .
“It's something you have to deal with. I'm living my life in a fish bowl. . . . But it is something that is worth it. As a player, you've got to deal with it.”