Michigan is not having the season that most expected in 2017. Much of that has to do with a less than desirable offense, especially in the passing game. Michigan's troubles throwing the ball came front and center after starter Wilton Speight was injured during the third game of the season on the road against the Purdue Boilermakers.
At the time, Harbaugh took exception to the hit that sidelined Speight and complained about the visiting locker room facilities at Purdue calling them “cramped.”
In the wake of that injury, Speight has been diagnosed with three fractured vertebrae and has no timeline for a return to football activities. Wilton's parents, Bobby and Martha Speight, were at the Purdue game, saw Wilton get injured, and accompanied him to the locker room to get treatment. According to a report by The Detroit News, father Bobby was not impressed, to say the least:
“What an absolute train wreck.”
Mr. Speight's recollection of the events does not paint a pretty picture of the Purdue medical team or athletic department. With no X-ray capabilities at the stadium, Bobby describes Wilton being transported off-site during which transport the quarterback (with a possible back injury) was required to sit straight up in the passenger seat of a van. The van was apparently driven by a student and did not have a police escort. Once the family, Wilton, and a representative of the University of Michigan medical team arrived at the student health center for an x-ray things got worse:
“They take us in the basement,” Bobby Speight said. “It’s very dimly lit. Halfway down the hall, there’s a (radiology) technician. Wilton is in (partial) uniform and still wearing cleats, and she asks Wilton his name. The (van driver) says he needs an X-ray. (The technician) looks at me and says, ‘I need your insurance card.’”
According to Bobby Speight, the student health facility did not have the capability to view the x-ray results in high resolution due to a technological issue, so, the decision was made to use emergency medical services to take Wilton to a hospital. Incredibly, only a volunteer rescue team was available for transportation and the volunteer team did not take the steps to secure Wilton during the ride to the hospital.
When his symptoms escalated to include tingling in his extremities, the situation went from bad to worse:
“Our doctor asked him, ‘Couldn’t we please turn on the siren and make better time?’ And (the rescue squad member) said, ‘Don’t you get smart with me. You said this is a non-vital trip.’ Our doctor said, ‘I don’t care what I told you, this boy has tingling in his legs. Turn the siren on and go.’
There will likely be more details of this story reported in the near future. One thing is for sure, Bobby Speight has learned a lesson and hopes for more light to be shed on this issue:
“I know Wilton is going to be fine in the long run,” he said. “Hopefully this will change some things in the Big Ten. I don’t want my kids to get hurt again, but if it does happen, I hope it happens in Ann Arbor.”
Speight has been sidelined since that 28-10 win over Purdue back on September 23. Michigan has since then loss two of their last three games. Speight's backup has started in his place in those three games.
Michigan (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) looks to get back in the win column on Saturday against Rutgers (3-4, 2-2 Big Ten) The Wolverines are an overwhelming favorite against the Scarlet Knights, who have won two straight in league play for the first time as a member of the Big Ten (joined in 2014).