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Years After Lane Tech Football Player Collapsed On Field From Head Trauma, His Recovery Marches On

A fundraiser for Drew Williams will be held at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at City's Edge at 5310 W. Devon Ave.

Drew Williams, a football player for Lane Tech, is still recovering from a brain injury.
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EDGEBROOK — It’s been five years since a Lane Tech football player collapsed during a game from severe head trauma and fell into a coma.

Drew Williams, now 22, is still recovering, and the community is coming together this weekend to help raise money for him and his family.

“It’s a long journey for him but he’s a fighter,” his mother, Jodi Williams, said Thursday. “He continues to try his best. He can do a little movement and for him it’s definitely progress.”

At 12:30 p.m. Saturday, City’s Edge at 5310 W. Devon Ave. will host a fundraiser for him. His friends, teammates and coaches will be there. The day will include child-friendly activities, Irish dancers and live music.

Drew Williams was a senior running back at Lane Tech when he collapsed on the sidelines during a game on Oct. 4, 2013. He spent a harrowing eight months in a series of hospitals, including emergency surgery, time in a coma and intensive care.

He was initially taken to Christ Hospital Medical Center from the game against Dunbar at Gately Stadium in Roseland. He was transferred to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, but later rushed to Lurie Children’s Hospital with pneumonia, low blood pressure and high fevers.

He returned home in May 2014 and has been fighting to recover ever since.

“My husband and I care for him at home and he had been going to Lane again, but due to too many germs and viruses, his immune system is compromised, so he would just get too sick,” Jodi Williams said.

Williams is still being taught by Lane Tech teachers, who come to his house to homeschool him, his mother said.

Williams’ former teammates and coaches from Lane Tech, Notre Dame College Prep and Loyola Academy will be on hand at the fundraiser Saturday, some serving as guest bartenders, to help raise funds for the Williams and his family.

One of Williams’ coaches is part owner of the business and wanted to do something to help the family out, said Blake Baum, a manager at City’s Edge.

“It’s nice to know that people still think of Drew,” Jodi Williams said. “It makes you feel not alone in this journey.”

“He’s doing really well. I hope that if the weather is good enough we’d make a visit to the bar on Saturday,” she said. “It just sounds like a lot of fun there.”

In addition to Saturday’s fundraiser, a GoFundMe campaign initially launched for Williams in 2013 is still active. It’s raised $70,092 of its $100,000 goal over the last six years.

The GoFundMe is raising funds to help the Williams family pay for “medical bills, expenses related to staying with Drew at the hospital, and overall expenses for Drew’s long term care.”

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