Duke receiver Holliday critically hurt in accident on Lake Tillery

Holliday in coma after July 4 Jet Ski collision

lcarroll@newsobserver.comJuly 5, 2012 

Duke sophomore wide receiver Blair Holliday is in critical condition after a Jet Ski accident Wednesday on Lake Tillery, located in Stanly and Montgomery counties, North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission officials said Thursday.

Holliday and teammate Jamison Crowder collided on the water, said Art Chase, an assistant director for sports information at Duke.

The collision was unintentional but remains under investigation, Lt. John Howell said.

Emergency crews arrived around 5 p.m. Wednesday. Holliday was airlifted to the UNC Trauma Center, where he remains in a coma. Chase said he wasn’t aware of any plans for surgery.

Crowder, also a sophomore receiver, refused treatment at the scene.

Holliday is from Sherman Oaks, Calif., which is just outside of Los Angeles. His parents flew cross-country, landing early Thursday, to be with their son.

“First and foremost, our thoughts are with Blair, his parents, Leslie and Rick, and the entire Holliday family,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said in a release. “The Holliday family is one of tremendous character and strength.”

Holliday caught three passes in his freshman year, but he was projected to have an increased roll in the offense after a productive spring.

He was a standout at Oaks Christian in high school, and news of his injury spread quickly through that community.

Jim Lee, an assistant coach at Oaks Christian and the team chaplain, said he has been inundated with calls, texts and emails asking about Holliday’s condition. A number of Holliday’s former teammates tweeted their concerns, asking for prayers.

Richie Harrington was Oaks Christian’s quarterback when Holliday played. The two were so close in high school that Holliday spent a couple of months living with him.

Harrington, a redshirt freshman at Oregon State, said he talked to Holliday’s younger brother Thursday, who said that the family still doesn’t know much about Holliday’s prognosis.

“He’s always the life of party, that’s for sure,” Harrington said. “He can relate with everyone. His character and his personality were something that people wanted to be around.”

Added Lee: “He’s kind of a funny kid, because sometimes (I could see) as a coach, he would kind of push the envelope, but he always knew where to stop. Some kids don’t know where to stop and they’re just really frustrating, but I think he had very good parenting and he just knew where to draw the line. He was one of those kids.”

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service