Former NFL star Mike Williams on life support in Tampa following terrible construction site accident

September 7, 2023
Ben Marquis

A former star National Football League player was erroneously reported to have died following a horrific accident at a construction site last week.

As it turns out, former NFL wide receiver Mike Williams, 36, is on life support in a hospital in Tampa, Florida, according to People magazine.

Hit on head by falling steel beam

Per Williams' father, Wendell Muhammad, his son recently suffered "a major accident at work" in the Tampa Bay area when "a steel beam fell on his head causing a massive head injury."

The former player was swiftly transported to a nearby hospital and, "As a result of this accident, there was swelling on his brain and swelling on his spinal cord that was ruptured. These injuries resulted in complete paralysis in his right arm as well as his lower body from the waist down."

People noted that there had been initial reports from certain media outlets that Williams had died on Tuesday but that his agent had quickly corrected those erroneous reports to let everyone know that Williams, though in bad shape, was still alive, at least for now.

May soon be removed from life support, according to grieving wife

The Tampa Bay Times reported Wednesday that Williams was on life support systems in the Intensive Care Unit of St. Joseph's Hospital and had been visited by his wife, Tierney Lyle, and their 8-year-old daughter Mya.

"They were waiting on me and (his daughter). We’re here and still trying to figure it out," Lyle told reporters outside the hospital. "He was asleep when we went in there and he woke up when he heard our voices and his daughter’s voice. And he looked around, and he blinked and he was crying but he can’t move."

She went on to reveal that a plan had been discussed to potentially remove her husband from life support but that hadn't happened yet and she was unsure when or even if that would occur.

Initially stellar NFL career cut short by injuries, trades

CBS Sports reported that Williams had been working in construction in Florida's Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located, several years after his brief but stellar NFL career had concluded at the start of the 2016 season.

Williams had been drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played exceptionally well as a rookie, enough to earn a hefty contract extension in 2013 that was marred when he was sidelined with a hamstring injury and then was traded to the Buffalo Bills after that season was finished.

He only played in a handful of games with Buffalo, his hometown, and though he showed flashes of his prior abilities on the field, he was later released and did not play in 2015 due to a suspension and the fact that he hadn't been signed by any other teams. Williams made one more attempt to continue his NFL career when he signed a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs ahead of the 2016 season but was ultimately cut prior to the start of regular season games.

Former coach "devastated" by tragic accident

Local Buffalo media outlet WIVB reported that Williams had been a standout football and basketball star at Riverside High School and went on to also be a star football player at Syracuse University before being drafted into the NFL.

The outlet noted that according to a close friend, Williams had begun a new job doing electrical work in the Tampa area several months ago and suffered a horrible accident on a construction site on September 1, which resulted in emergency surgery and his being placed in a medically-induced coma.

"He was just one of the hardest working kids I knew," former Riverside football coach Tony Truilizio said of his former star player. "In terms of his athleticism, he was the best student-athlete I’ve ever coached. … I’m devastated, I can’t lie to you. I’m sick to my stomach."

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