Leshawn Williams had a knee injury. That much was clear. But as athletic trainers tried to make sense of the injury, and while paramedics were en route to the football stadium, Williams knew one thing for sure.
He was in pain.
At the hospital, the bigger issue turned out not to be ligament or bone damage, as trainers had thought. A massive clot had developed on the back of his knee, preventing blood from circulating in the lower portion of Williams' leg.
On Saturday, while doctors were trying to re-establish circulation and were running tests to assess the full extent of the injury, Williams posted this to Twitter:
I gotta pull through this! This ain't me !
— L➖chop (@LeshawnWilliams) October 25, 2014
By Sunday night, his leg below the knee had been amputated.
Williams' mother, Bonita Copeland, is frustrated with the paramedics. Due to budget cuts, Williams' school did not have an ambulance on hand at the stadium -- a service that can cost $450 per game.
That resulted in a half-hour delay before paramedics could begin treating Williams and bringing him to the hospital. Copeland wonders if faster response could have changed her son's fate.
But according to the Tampa Bay Times, surgeons speculate that the extent of the circulatory damage was so great in the knee that even an hour wouldn't have changed the outcome of Williams' injury.
Instead, most of Saturday and Sunday was spent trying to return circulation to Williams' leg. Without proper circulation, the cells in the body cannot survive. Sometime on Sunday, doctors concluded that the leg below the clot could not be saved.
Copeland decided not to tell her son about the amputation after the surgery was performed.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Williams remains in shock over the loss and unsure of how to take it. He has been active on Twitter, retweeting statements of support and promoting campaigns that have been establish to fundraise for the costs of his medical bills.
He's also received support from Paralympic snowboarding bronze medalist Amy Purdy:
— Amy Purdy (@AmyPurdyGurl) October 28, 2014
While the school plans to continue with the season as scheduled, it will honor Williams by wearing helmet stickers bearing the number '69' -- Williams' jersey number.
Although his condition is stable, Williams' football career is over -- replaced with a much more challenging road ahead.