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Douglas Randolph suing Notre Dame, claims MRI results concealed

A former Notre Damefootball player is suing the university for allegedly concealing results from an MRI and instructing him to keep playing while he was risking a spinal cord injury.

A lawsuit filed by former Fighting Irish linebacker Douglas Randolph, obtained by The Indianapolis Star, states that Notre Dame did not provide results of an MRI that Randolph underwent after experiencing "numbness in his upper extremities" stemming from a hit in a practice drill in September 2015. Randolph played the entire 2015 season and later was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. He also might have permanent nerve damage in his neck, according to the lawsuit.

Paul Brown, a spokesman for Notre Dame, said in a statement Thursday that the university was "completely confident'' that its athletics doctors and trainers provided proper medical care to the plantiff in this case.

"We are equally confident that the allegations made in this lawsuit are baseless,'' Browne said.

Online records show the case was filed Sept. 1 in St. Joseph County (Indiana) Circuit Court. It names Notre Dame, head coach Brian Kelly, head football athletic trainer Rob Hunt, several doctors and others as defendants.

According to the lawsuit obtained by the Star, Randolph immediately informed Hunt of his symptoms but was instructed to return to practice minutes later. He continued to feel the symptoms after every hit he absorbed. After the MRI, Hunt and a team doctor told Randolph he could continue to play, according to the lawsuit.

"If he had been told the truth about the results of this MRI scan, his football career would have ended on that date and all subsequent injuries and permanent damage he has endured would have never occurred," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit alleges that Randolph experienced numbness in both arms and both legs while playing in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State on Jan. 1, 2016, but was told by Hunt to keep playing. He had a second MRI after the game that revealed the spinal stenosis. Kelly announced in March 2016 that Randolph's football career had ended and that he would be taking a medical hardship because of spondylosis, or spinal osteoarthritis. Randolph remained with the team as a student assistant for the 2016 season, working with the defensive line, and he graduated in the spring of 2017. He appeared in 19 games for the Irish, recording six tackles.

Kelly said after practice on Thursday that he was surprised by the lawsuit.

"I know the kind of quality health care we provide. We've got outstanding doctors. That's our mission here is to provide the very best health care to our student-athletes. And whatever's in their best interest,'' Kelly said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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