FORT WORTH (CBS11) – Stories involving five more former TCU football players have been added to a lawsuit accusing the university of a pattern of verbal abuse, pressure to play and negligent medical treatment.
The examples include a player who says he was pressured to play after being injured in a car accident.
Another said he was kicked off the team after expressing fear over a repeated injury.
Another said Coach Gary Patterson pressured trainers to clear him to play, after he suffered a concussion.
The stories have all been added to the suit brought by former player Kolby Listenbee. He argues that pressure from Patterson and medical treatment by team doctors contributed to a pelvic injury that has hurt his chances of a career in the NFL.
Listenbee is represented by the Potts Law Firm out of Houston.
The additional stories now included date back to 2002, two seasons after Patterson took over as head coach. One involves running back Lonta Hobbs, who the suit says was diagnosed with a concussion and post-traumatic stress disorder after a car accident that followed a successful freshman season.
The suit says TCU persuaded Hobbs to return to school for treatment, but never referred him to a psychiatrist. The suit says Hobbs was “belligerent” and emotionally unstable. It says he was pressured to return to the field, and told he would lose his position if he didn’t. It says this caused Hobbs additional emotional instability and physical unbalance.
After tearing a ligament in 2012, the lawsuit says coaches told David Johnson the team may not have a scholarship for him if he could not return to the field in time for the fall season. The suit says Johnson underwent an accelerated recovery process, only to re-injure the knee.
In 2013, when Johnson said he felt his knee shift during practice, he left the field, only to draw a “disgusted look” from Patterson. The suit says that turned into a verbal confrontation on the sidelines, and later in Patterson’s office. The suit says two days later Johnson was cut from the team.
When Stansly Maponga was considering leaving before his senior season for a career in the NFL, the suit says Patterson made it clear he would not be allowed back to work out or complete his degree. It says Patterson would also tell NFL scouts and coaches that Maponga was “soft.”
In 2013, after Cameron White came off the field following a violent hit, the suit says he told the training staff “I don’t feel right.” Despite that, the suit says trainers cleared him to return to the game. After a knee sprain in another game, the suit says White received injections for the next 10 games, but was never informed what they were.
A citation in the suit after Johnsons’ story, quotes him as saying it was “a known fact that throughout the TCU program, voiced by [Defendant] Patterson himself, that if you go against his will in your intentions to stay with or leave the program, he will make it intentionally difficult for you to leave or gain a place [at] a new school. ..Patterson often would allege that he wouldn’t release you from your ‘contract’ and would bad mouth you to other schools – tell the coaches there that you were lazy, don’t work hard, and were not tough.”
The amended complaint also added an argument that TCU preferred to treat players “in house,” because it was easier to manipulate physicians to clear them to play sooner. And it questions a relationship between the head physician, and head trainer.
TCU did not respond immediately to emails requesting comment on the amended lawsuit.
The school filed its own lawsuit against Listenbee last month, arguing physicians who treated him were not employees, but part of a contract with JPS Physicians Group.
JPS this week responded in a court filing with a general denial it did anything wrong. It also cited Texas law that limits damages payable in medical cases.