One of the Washington area’s top high school football prospects remains hospitalized with a fractured skull and a severe concussion after being injured during a camp in Sterling this past Saturday night.
Lamont Baldwin, a junior at Carroll in Northeast Washington, and two other participants suffered concussions in a three-player collision. The other injured players, B.J. Antoine of Eleanor Roosevelt and Demery Monroe of DeMatha, were taken by ambulance to local hospitals where they were treated and released.
Baldwin was among 250 high school players — who paid $55 in advance or $75 that night — in attendance Saturday night for the Northern Virginia Riddell All-American Training Camp Elite Skills and Lineman Showcase at the Dulles Sportsplex. The facility has three fields, roughly 50 yards long and 30 yards wide, and players were broken up into fields by position, with wide receivers and defensive backs on one field, linemen on another and running backs and linebackers on the third field. The players did not wear pads or helmets.
Baldwin, who is 6 feet 31 / 2 and 195 pounds and plays wide receiver, was taken by helicopter to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he spent two days in intensive care and is still receiving treatment.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and seen some crazy injuries, but I have never seen anything scare me this much,” Carroll Coach Rick Houchens said. “I feared for the kid’s life.”
According to Houchens, a neurologist expects Baldwin to make a full recovery and will be able to play football again, though that could take six months. Baldwin has been recruited by several major college programs, including Maryland, Penn State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech, Houchens said. He had 16 catches for 199 yards and two touchdowns this past season.
The incident was previously reported by WRC-TV.
The injuries occurred about two hours into the four-hour camp, during one-on-one drills, with a quarterback throwing to a wide receiver being covered by a defensive back. 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.
Houchens, who went to the camp as a spectator, said Baldwin lined up for a play while being covered by Antoine. Baldwin ran about 10 yards straight ahead, then broke off on a 45-degree angle, Houchens said. At the same time, from the other end of the field, Monroe was covering a wide receiver, with the four players on a collision course.
“You don’t do that, you never run any kind of drill into each other,” said Houchens, noting that there were close calls before the injuries occurred. “There is too much risk.”
Event organizer Wayne Yarborough said he hires high school head coaches and assistant coaches to work the event — some as volunteers and some paid.
On a write-up about the event posted on a Web site that Yarborough occasionally writes for, former DeMatha coach Bill McGregor is listed as the camp director and West Potomac Coach Eric Henderson is listed as the assistant director.
Attempts to reach McGregor and Henderson on Thursday were unsuccessful; Yarborough declined to say which coaches were working with each positional grouping, but Houchens said McGregor and Friendship Collegiate Academy Coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim were among the coaches working with the wide receivers and defensive backs. Abdul-Rahim said he was one of eight coaches working on the field with wide receivers and defensive backs, and he called it “an unfortunate accident.” He referred all other comment to Yarborough..
“It was my event and I was the one running it,” Yarborough said.
Yarborough, who said he purchased insurance for the event, said he was aware of the potential for injury but noted the need to get players on the field as much as possible.
“The thing about it is you want to try to provide a service to the kids, to basically enjoy the camp,” Yarborough said. “There is a pressure making sure everyone gets repetitions. That’s the number one complaint I get.”