Navy football player Will McKamey remained in critical condition at the University of Maryland Medical Center on Monday morning, two days after he collapsed and suffered a brain injury during spring practice.
McKamey underwent cranial surgery on Saturday afternoon at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore to reduce swelling and bleeding on his brain. The Tennessee native has been in a coma ever since and his family - through the Naval Academy - released a statement on Sunday evening stating that there was no new news about his condition.
"We still have only small responses from Will," the statement said.
Coaches, players and other support personnel from the Navy football team have maintained an almost constant vigil at the hospital to show support for McKamey and his family. Athletic director Chet Gladchuk, head coach Ken Niumatalolo and team captains Noah Copeland and Parrish Gaines are among those that have spent hours and hours in the waiting room.
Randy and Kara McKamey flew from their home in Knoxville to Baltimore on Saturday and have kept friends and family updated on their 19-year-old son's condition through postings to Facebook and Twitter. Randy McKamey is the head coach at Grace Baptist Academy in Knoxville, where Will was a two-time All-State selection as a running back.
Pastor Todd Stewart led a prayer service for Will McKamey on Sunday at Grace Baptist Church while the Facebook page for the Grace Christian Rams football program has been flooded with messages of support. Those posting to Twitter have included the hashtag "Will Miracle" while asking that people pray for the youngster.
"Our entire family appreciates each and every one that has reached out to us. The photos of Will, the support, the prayers, seeing everybody rally around us has been unbelievable. It amazes me how this one kid is touching so many...from coast to coast," the McKamey family said in the statement.
"Our God is using Will for a huge platform right now. I know many of you wish you could be here with us, but know that the Navy family has stepped in for our Knoxville family and they are providing an unbelievable support system. Pray for the Navy football players and coaches as well, they are all here and doing everything in their power to pull Will through."
McKamey was going through light drills during the first padded practice of spring camp on Saturday morning when he came to the sideline and complained to a team trainer that his head hurt. The sophomore slotback took off his helmet then collapsed on the field and was immediately attended to by medical personnel on site.
McKamey was transported by ambulance to another location on the Naval Academy campus and was then airlifted to the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Sources told The Capital that paramedics onboard the Medevac helicopter had to revive the youngster en route to the hospital.
McKamey suffered a similar incident while playing for Grace Christian Academy in 2012, collapsing during a two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter of a game at South Pittsburg. He was flown to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga, where he spent a few days in the intensive care unit while doctors monitored brain bleeding and swelling.
McKamey did not undergo surgery that time, but the injury prevented him from suiting up for Grace Christian in the playoffs that season. He would later be selected as the top running back among Class A schools in Tennessee after totaling more than 2,000 rushing and receiving yards as a senior.
Sources told The Capital that several doctors in Tennessee cleared McKamey to continue playing football at the collegiate level. As a freshman at Navy in 2013, the 5-foot-9, 170-pounder did not see any varsity action, but did play in junior varsity contests.
A Naval Academy spokesman said on Sunday that all candidates for service academies are given extensive pre-admission physicals. Commander John Schofield, public information officer at the academy, said the "standards for medical qualification for a commissioned program in the military" are conducted through the Department of Defense's Medical Examination Review Board.
"If something is identified in that evaluation that requires a waiver, then you go through the waiver process," Schofield said.
Due to federal privacy rules spelled out in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Schofield could not confirm nor deny whether McKamey needed a waiver. However, multiple sources have told The Capital that doctors affiliated with the Navy football program raised concerns about McKamey returning to the field and that the family was asked to sign a waiver.