Focus on UGA DT Trenton Thompson’s health after much offseason adversity

Georgia defensive tackle Trenton Thompson (78) during the Bulldogs’ game against Nicholls at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (Andy Harrison/UGA Sports Communications)

Before Trenton Thompson was taken to the hospital early Thursday morning after police called for emergency personnel for what the school described “as adverse reaction to medications,” the defensive tackle had been dealing with significant off-field adversity.


Thompson underwent “several shoulder surgeries” this offseason on one shoulder and was expected to need surgery on another, Octavia Jones, who coached Thompson at Westover High in Albany, said on Friday morning.

Georgia said Thompson’s “physical appearance and behavior” described in a university police report that included him “wandering on the roadway,” and “unsteady on his feet,” and having “very bloodshot eyes,” was related to an adverse reaction to medications prescribed specifically for his medical condition.

Thompson told police he took “two oxies,” but Georgia said toxicology tests performed at Athens Regional Medical Center before Thompson’s release Thursday “were negative for OxyContin,” a prescription pain killer.

Thompson recently had been upset about “some things that went on” with defensive line coach Tracy Rocker “not being there anymore,” on staff after two seasons playing under him, Jones said. Georgia confirmed he was no longer on staff on Feb. 7.

“The way he found out, it just kind of bothered him a whole lot right now,” Jones said. “He and Coach Rocker were really close.”

Jones said he has not talked to Thompson since December, but has received information about Thompson from an assistant coach who saw him on Thursday.

Jones said Thompson was with a former teammate the night before and went to get something to eat. They returned to the dorm room and Thompson said he couldn’t sleep and left and the police officer later saw him on the street.

Thompson has experienced high blood pressure and was on pain medication, Jones said. The police report described burst capillaries.

“They’re trying to get that taken care of, get that down to safe levels,” Jones said.

Thompson, a rising junior considered probably Georgia’s top defensive player and the No. 4 defensive tackle prospect for 2019 by, withdrew from spring semester classes and remains in Athens.

“Just hoping to get back on track medically,” Jones said. “That’s the most important thing. You’ve got to have your health to be able to do anything else. I think that’s where the focus is right now.”

Thompson was planning to go to a state high school basketball game Thursday night between Westover and Sandy Creek in Tyrone, but was advised not to go after he was released from the hospital.

Georgia said he has been “dealing with a significant medical issue which required emergency hospitalization and extended hospital stay.” He remains under close medical care, but did not release further information due to federal privacy laws.

The plan, Jones said he’s almost certain, is for Thompson to try to be able to return this fall.

“I know coach (Kirby) Smart and his staff are going to try and help him get back on track,” Jones said. “Right now, I think the focus is just on his health right now.”