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Dominique Booth says Indiana mishandled his concussion due to Kevin Wilson’s pressure

The IU wideout-turned-student-coach after medical hardship tells Bob Kravitz the program was ruled by ‘fear and intimidation’ under Wilson.

Maryland v Indiana Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After Fred Glass simply cited “philosophical differences” in accepting Kevin Wilson’s resignation after a law firm probe into the program’s practices, information is finally coming out on exactly what went on inside the Indiana program that led to his sudden departure.

Allegations of player mistreatment emerged shortly after Wilson’s imminent departure was reported on Thursday afternoon. ESPN’s Mark Schlabach reported that Indiana spoke to a handful of players about their treatment under Wilson as part of the Taft law firm’s review. Now, one of those players is speaking out.

Indiana wide receiver Dominique Booth, who spent the 2016 season as a student coach after failing to be cleared by Indiana’s medical staff, tells WTHR’s Bob Kravitz that he was pushed by a trainer to “increase his physical workload because (the trainer) didn’t want to get ‘cussed out’ by Wilson.” In addition, he says Wilson had him “medically disqualified” after he didn’t want to deal with him, but still worked to stand in the way of his transfer to Missouri — telling the staff there he was an injury & concussion risk, according to Booth.

"I can't even say that my issue, necessarily, is with Coach Wilson. I guess my issue is more with IU as a system under Coach Wilson," Booth told WTHR.

In a similar report on the matter, Bob Kravitz says Booth’s allegations alone did not spur Wilson’s dismissal, but were reflective of a systemic problem of “fear and intimidation” under the head coach. Kravitz says “several sources” have indicated to him that other players, trainers, support personnel, and “everybody” celebrated the news of Wilson’s resignation under pressure — calling his treatment of players, trainers, and medical staffers as “tyrannical.”

Speaking with lawyers at his side to Kravitz, Booth detailed what led to his eventual medical disqualification. The original concussion, the third of his overall football career, occurred in mid-August of 2015.

"On August 28, I went out and I did some jogging, did some sprinting and the trainer I was with said I was done," Booth said.

But he says another trainer was not done with him.

"He said, 'I'm not getting myself cussed for you.' You need to go to the tent," Booth recalled.

He says "the tent" is a place for punishment or where injured players work out. But the workout, he says, was tough.

"I went home that night, I was throwing up. I texted the trainer and told him I was not feeling well, something was not right. Woke up the next morning, I couldn't remember, I couldn't focus, I couldn't read.

He was sensitive to light, he says, and had significant problems for three months.

"That day has haunted me since then when it comes to my symptoms," Booth said.

Headaches have even sent him to the hospital. But did the coach order the heavy training?

"I have no idea what happened behind closed doors with that. I just know that a trainer that I know definitely made it clear the reason I was going to do what I was doing was because the pressure he felt from Coach Wilson," Booth said.

At some point, the ramp-up and addition of light jogging and working out is a standard part of most post-concussion protocols, including Indiana’s.

After his longer-ranging problems, Booth was not cleared by doctors at Indiana to play — but he says this is because Wilson had “soured” on him as a player. Booth says Wilson stood in the way of his transfer to other programs, by telling schools like Missouri of his concussion history.

Booth’s comments are a stark contrast to his statement in April, after he was failed to be cleared by Indiana’s medical staff, and his involvement with the Indiana coaching staff this season. At the time of his medical disqualification, he said he had “no hard feelings” and thanked Indiana’s offensive staff for pushing him. He worked closely with offensive coordinator and receivers coach through the 2016 season, and his work as a coach received praise from Wilson, noting at one point that “he ought to be a coach as he moves forward.”

Booth launched a personal blog detailing some of his challenges this week which you can access here.