TED MILLER

SEATTLE, June 16 - Former Washington defensive back Curtis Williams, paralyzed from the neck down since he sustained a spinal cord injury in a game last October, will be the subject of a story Monday on HBO's "Real Sports."



The story will focus on Williams' ongoing battle with the NCAA and its insurance company to receive the care he needs.
Williams, 23, underwent a neurosurgical procedure last week intended to allow him to breathe without a ventilator. He lives with his brother, David, in Fresno, Calif., where he needs 24-hour nursing care.
Williams and his family want that care to continue to take place at home, not in a nursing home. But the NCAA's insurance policy with Mutual of Omaha only provides coverage for 72 hours of home nursing per week.
That means David Williams, 37, who works full time as manager of a medical waste facility and is married with two children, must provide the remaining 96 hours of care. He estimated he gets about two to four hours of sleep each night, rising every morning at 4 a.m.
"We want to get the news out," David Williams said. "I haven't talked to anybody with the NCAA. I don't know if it's helping or not."
Home health-care workers are with Curtis from midnight until 8 a.m., Monday through Thursday. David and the rest of the Williams family are responsible for providing Curtis' remaining care.
Curtis' injury, which occurred in a collision with Stanford running back Kerry Carter, is covered by the NCAA's $20 million catastrophic insurance plan for athletes. That plan allots about $100,000 a year for home health care. But David estimates Curtis' expenses could run between $200,000 and 300,000 annually.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that institutional care in the Fresno area would cost between $550 to $1,000 a day -- or two to three times the $100,000 home care limit.
If Curtis were to enter an approved institution, insurance would cover all expenses, even though that likely would cost significantly more than if he stayed at home.
Washington created the Curtis Williams Fund to assist his care, but David said the family wants to save that $270,000 for future or emergency expenses.
David said Curtis expects shortly to receive a computer that will assist him in his day-to-day activities. It will allow him to operate doors and other appliances around the house. David said, however, that the insurance company has yet to provide a custom-made van that will accommodate Curtis' wheelchair.
David said Curtis' spirits continue to improve. If the recent surgery is successful, Curtis should be able to breathe on his own within four weeks and communicate in a normal voice.
Yesterday Curtis went to see the new John Travolta movie, "Swordfish."
"It's going to take time, but it's getting better," David said. "He doesn't have any false hopes now."
Contributions to the Curtis Williams Fund should be sent to: The Curtis Williams Fund, c/o The University of Washington, 1200 Fifth Ave., Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98101