Former TCU wide receiver Kolby Listenbee has filed suit against the school and the Big 12, alleging that he was pressured into returning too quickly after an injury during his senior season.
Listenbee was injured in the Horned Frogs’ 2015 game against SMU. According to a doctor cited in the suit, Listenbee suffered osteitis pubis, which is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects the pubic bones.
Instead of a rest and recovery of eight to twelve weeks, Listenbee alleges he was given corticosteroids by the TCU training staff to play. Per his suit, he received injections of anesthetics and corticosteroids before games after returning from his injury.
He alleges the lack of rest and painkiller use resulted in the eventual insertion of a metal plate into his pelvis because of pelvic instability. The suit was filed in Dallas County civil court and it names TCU coach Gary Patterson and former offensive coordinator Doug Meacham, among others.
“The first time Kolby was pressured was during the game Kolby was originally injured in. Kolby landed awkwardly, limped off the field and was then subsequently carried on the sidelines by teammates to the athletic trainers’ table. As he was carried off, defendant Patterson congratulated Kolby on the touchdown. Defendant Gable stood near Kolby while he received a massage on the table. Defendant Gable informed defendants Patterson, Meacham and Burns that Kolby was in significant pain. Despite this knowledge and seeing Kolby being carried by teammates, defendants Patterson, Meacham and Burns personally told Kolby to ‘get back out on the field.’ Kolby refused as he was barely able to walk. Defendant Patterson was visibly upset by Kolby’s decision.”
“After the game and for the next two weeks, defendants Patterson, Meacham and Burns continually harassed, humiliated, pressured and threatened Kolby to return to play. On numerous occasions, the aforementioned defendants made fun of Kolby’s injury by telling him in front of the entire TCU football team that Kolby was ‘faking it’ and he was ‘soft.’ The coaching defendants would tell Kolby’s teammates who were also injured that Kolby is only ’saying he was injured because ‘misery loves company.’’ The defendants would also contrast Kolby to other injured teammates who were playing through their injury during practices, film sessions and team meetings.”
Listenbee also says Patterson threatened to dismiss him if TCU lost to Texas on Oct. 3 while Listenbee was absent. He also claims that TCU coaches told him they’d tell NFL scouts that Listenbee wasn’t tough if he didn’t return quickly from his injury.
TCU released a statement to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram declining comment on any pending litigation and touting its treatment of athletes.
Listenbee had 30 catches for 597 yards and five touchdowns throughout the 2015 season. He was injured in the Sep. 19 game against SMU and returned against Kansas on Oct. 10. Against Iowa State on Oct. 17 he had six catches for 101 yards. He had multiple catches in every game after that until TCU’s final two games of the season. TCU went to the Alamo Bowl at the end of the season where it came back in the second half to stun Oregon.
The previous season Listenbee had 41 catches for 753 yards and four touchdowns.
Listenbee’s accusation of player mistreatment follows claims by Indiana players of mistreatment under former coach Kevin Wilson. In the days after Wilson’s resignation in December 2016, four players detailed mistreatment issues surrounding their injuries. Among the allegations were a lack of treatment by the training staff and verbal abuse by Wilson.
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