When Bad Things Happen To Good People

Nope Springs Eternal

Ron Springs: One of the saddest columns I've ever written.

I like to remember Ron Springs as Tony Dorsett's capable backup. A guy with soft hands and nifty feet. Dangerous on the middle screen. A sneaky player who would sometimes rare back and fling a lefty halfback pass toward Drew Pearson.

Those memories, however, have been tasered by reality.

I come to you this morning with a couple poignant leftovers from this week’s dead-tree version of The Sportatorium and my column about the tragic tale of the former Cowboy.

Quick refresher: After football Springs lost a leg to diabetes, got a kidney transplant from former teammate Everson Walls, was doing great and then, boom, went into the hospital to have an unrelated cyst removed from his arm and went into a catastrophic coma. Springs’ lawyers say it was because of negligent anesthesiologist Dr. Joyce Abraham; The doctors’ attorneys claim it was just one of those medical mysteries that no one can prevent, nor explain.

While Springs lies in a vegetative state in a Medical City Hospital room with little or no chance of awaking, teams of attorneys are haggling over what exactly went wrong during the pre-op.

“What happened to Mr. Springs was an unfortunate and unforeseen complication,” says Abraham’s attorney, Bill Chamblee. “It’s a reminder that all medical procedures carry certain risks. It’s why there are consent forms.”

Springs’ lawyer, Les Weisbrod, is slinging the dirtiest of mud, claiming Chamblee and the defense are actually rooting for the former running back to perish before the lawsuit proceeds.

“They’re hoping Ron Springs dies before this case can go to trial,” Weisbrod says. “If he dies, it makes things a whole lot cheaper for the defense and their insurance company. It’s absolutely horrible. But it’s absolutely true.”

Counters Dana Leidig, spokesperson for Texas Medical Liability & Trust, the Austin-based largest insurer of doctors in the state, “Our hearts go out to the Springs family and we empathize with them over the tragic ordeal they have endured. It’s unfortunate that some would engage in inflammatory language that is clearly inconsistent with the facts of the case.”

Weisbrod is hoping Springs’ case is the catalyst that prompts a constitutional change to rid Texas of its $250,000 cap for pain and suffering.

All I know is that bickering lawyers are now polluting what was such a uplifting, triumphant story. I can only imagine what Springs feels is being done to his legacy.

That is, if he can feel anything at all.

“If someone touches him he flinches and if you stick him with a pin he reacts to pain,” Weisbrod says. “No one knows exactly what he feels.”

Unfortunately, we have an idea. -- Richie Whitt

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt