Gregory Baldwin paused and reached for his sunglasses, but even the dark brown shades could not hide the tears streaming down both cheeks as he talked about the oldest of his four children.
Lamont Baldwin, a junior at Carroll High, remains at home and is severely limited nearly two weeks after sustaining a fractured skull near his left temple and a severe concussion during a combine for high school football players on April 2.
“He’s still deaf out of his left ear,” Gregory Baldwin said. “He’s still a bit off on his walk. He can’t talk on the phone. He can’t be on the computer.”
A standout wide receiver on the Carroll football team who was being recruited by several top college programs, Lamont Baldwin still wants to play football again. At 6 feet 3 ½ and 195 pounds, the 17-year-old hopes to receive a college scholarship.
“Lamont is strong,” Gregory Baldwin said. “Lamont still watches football tapes. Lamont is going to come back one day and shock the world.”
For the time being, though, Lamont Baldwin remains at the two-story Anacostia townhouse he shares with his mother, Robin Jones. (Jones has declined interview requests.) He wears wraparound sunglasses much of the time and often leaves the lights off because of his sensitivity to light, Gregory Baldwin said, adding that Lamont also is dealing with memory loss and stutters when he speaks.
“Right now, me and his mother said we’re not concerned with returning to school,” Gregory Baldwin said. “We’re concerned about restoring his health right now. The school is working with us. It’s out of our control. He’s in no position to try to return to school.”
Baldwin was injured during a passing drill, when he collided with two other players. Demory Monroe of DeMatha High and B.J. Antoine of Eleanor Roosevelt High were treated at a hospital and have since returned to school, according to Joe Cammarata, an attorney representing the three players.
Baldwin, though, was taken by helicopter to Fairfax Inova Hospital, where he spent two days in intensive care. He was in the hospital four more days before being released.
Gregory Baldwin said that he and his brother had driven Lamont to the Dulles Sportsplex in Sterling so that the player could attend the Northern Virginia Riddell All-American Training Camp Elite Skills and Lineman Showcase. During passing drills on a field roughly 50 yards long, quarterbacks were throwing to wide receivers being covered by defensive backs. To try to maximize participation, the players were divided into two groups, each lining up at one end of the field and running pass patterns toward the middle of the field.
By that point, Gregory Baldwin said, he and his brother had gone to a nearby restaurant to eat dinner. Then his cell phone rang and it was Lamont’s mother, wanting to know what hospital Lamont was being taken to. Gregory Baldwin quickly returned to the Dulles Sportsplex, where there police cars, ambulances and a helicopter waiting to take his son to the hospital. As Gregory Baldwin asked Lamont to squeeze his hand, he was aghast at the injuries and was troubled by Lamont’s left eye looking toward his right eye. Later that night, at the hospital, Gregory Baldwin said Lamont cried because he did not recognize his parents.
Going to the combine was “the worst thing we ever could have went to, for this nightmare to occur,” Gregory Baldwin said. “All I want is somebody to face their responsibility for my kid’s experience and what he is experiencing.”