Former Foes

Oklahoma RB Emeka Megwa Suing Former School for Alleged ‘Medical Negligence’

Emeka Megwa, a walk-on running back at the University of Oklahoma, has filed a civil lawsuit against his former school alleging medical negligence, according to a bombshell report.

According to King County Superior Court records obtained by the Seattle Times, Megwa has filed suit against the University of Washington for events that transpired during his time with the Huskies in 2021-22.

The report claims that Megwa is seeking damages from UW and nine current or former members of the Huskies sports medicine staff, football coaching staff, athletic trainers, and physical therapists. The complaint alleges that Washington’s medical staff was negligent in the rehabilitation of Megwa’s ACL injury, resulting in a subsequent injury in the same knee.

 

In the lawsuit, Megwa claims that he was pressured into practicing and was criticized by the coaching staff for being physically unable to participate in workouts before eventually being dismissed from the program after a second reconstruction surgery on his knee.

The lawsuit claims that Washington did not consult with a physician despite Megwa experiencing pain months before the second ACL tear was discovered.

“The main thing he wants is to prevent this from happening to other student-athletes,” Megwa’s attorney Andrew Ackley said Tuesday. “When there’s a major reconstructive surgery, the surgeons should be the ones saying what these athletes should be available to do, not trainers or coaches.”

Megwa’s first ACL injury took place before his time at Washington, in the summer of 2021, and was a a factor in the former four-star running back reclassifying and enrolling at Washington a year early. Megwa says that former head coach Jimmy Lake promised that the program would properly handle his injury situation, prompting him to skip his senior year of high school.

However, Lake was fired in November 2021, bringing Kalen DeBoer and his staff into the situation.

“I think it’s fair to say he felt he was well taken care of and valued with the Jimmy Lake crew,” Ackley said. “And there was a real change in attitude toward him with the new coaching staff. They didn’t know him. They didn’t recruit him. And they may not have known as well what his medical history was, but either way, it’s inexcusable what they put him through.”

 

Despite not being cleared by the Huskies medical team, Megwa was instructed to take part in team workouts in January 2022 despite sharing concerns with the idea.

A note from Dr. Albert Gee, who serves as a UW Athletics team physician, on January 13, 2022 states, ““I do not see a rush to get him back anytime soon, I think he will be ready for spring ball but even that I think we will just have to wait and see and I do not think there is a rush.”

On January 22, Megwa reported pain in his shin but was given new shoes instead of seeing a doctor. Then, on February 1, Megwa experienced what he described as a “sharp pain in his left knee” during lateral shuffling drills. A quick look from the on-field training staff led to the conclusion that all ligaments felt stable, including the ACL.

According to the lawsuit, Megwa continued to report knee pain and swelling in his left knee throughout the month, but was prescribed painkillers instead of a consultation with a doctor.

It was during this period of time when Megwa claims that he was berated by the coaching staff in front of his teammates for not being able to participate in team activities, alleging that he was told to “drop your (expletive) nuts and get on the (expletive) line, that’s some p***y a** s***.”

Still, Megwa continued to try and push through the pain at the command of his coaching staff, furthering the deterioration of his knee. Megwa reported another instance of sharp pain in his left knee during a lifting session in late February, but was still not sent to a doctor.

 

The lawsuit claims that Megwa was unable to run by March, and finally was sent to see Dr. Gee. On March 7, an MRI revealed that Megwa had suffered another left ACL tear, along with new medial and lateral meniscus tears. 

“He’s been set back multiple years in his recovery,” Ackley said. 

Megwa underwent his second reconstruction surgery with his original doctor but was instructed by a Washington coach to enter the transfer portal during spring exit meetings.

After joining the Sooners as a walk-on, Megwa spent an entire year rehabilitating his knee, with continual surgical treatment according to the complaint.

“He really wants to protect other students,” Ackley said, “whether it’s at UW or any other college, and have them get the same protections as any other worker who’s going back to work after an injury. These athletes obviously put their bodies on the line, but this was not a risk-of-football injury. This was a totally preventable reinjury and UW messed up his recuperation.”

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