COLUMBIA, S.C. – The father of a former NFL player who fatally shot six people before killing himself two years ago is suing the alma mater where his son played football.
An autopsy eventually diagnosed Phillip Adams with an unusually severe form of the degenerative brain disease commonly known as CTE that has been shown to cause violent mood swings and memory loss.
Now, Alonzo Adams says South Carolina State University did not follow safety protocols or properly train employees to treat the sustained head trauma that his son suffered during a college career that lasted from 2006 to 2009.
That alleged “negligence, carelessness, recklessness, willfulness, and wantonness” contributed to Adams' death following the April 8, 2021, mass shooting in Rock Hill, South Carolina, according to the wrongful death lawsuit filed March 31. Police found Adams with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Sam Watson, a spokesman said South Carolina State University, said the institution does not comment on current or pending litigation.
The NFL journeyman also sustained “head trauma” during his six years as a professional cornerback, according to the complaint. During a three-game span with the Raiders in 2012, Adams had two concussions.
The local coroner has said the family told investigators that Adams complained of excruciating injury-related pain, had issues with his memory and struggled to sleep. His sister told USA Today after the killings that the family had noticed concerning signs of rapidly deteriorating mental health like an escalating temper and lack of personal hygiene.
Because he didn't retire by 2014, he would not have been eligible for testing included in a broad settlement between the league and former players over long-lasting concussion-related injuries.
An agent has previously told The Associated Press that the Adams did not participate in other physical and mental health programs available for ex-players.