Prichard Colón’s Family Is ‘Waiting For A Miracle’ After Tragic 2015 Boxing Injury
Today, Puerto Rican former professional boxer Prichard Colón, 31, is largely bedridden, moving around in a motorized wheelchair, learning to use communication devices to say words to his family, receiving physical therapy, and being fed by his mother.
Today, Colón’s caretaker parents say they are “waiting for a miracle.” Still, the once super welterweight is making impressive steps forward, standing up for the first time in seven years back in 2022, and learning to communicate through a computer.
“If you ask him ‘Why?’ he [nods his head down] because he isn’t walking or in the wheelchair,” the mother continued. “But he knows this is transitory, because I am confident that Prichard will walk again.”
Colón’s 2015 boxing injury left him in a coma for 221 days
As reported by The Washington Post, Colón’s near-fatal boxing match occurred on October 17, 2015, at Fairfax’s EagleBank Arena in Fairfax County, Virginia. He was up against fellow boxer Terrel Williams. Before the fight, Colón posted on Instagram, “Weights are in, tomorrow is fight day, 4 PM on NBC!”
He posted another photo after the weigh-in, writing, “Time to put in work.”
Before the tragic end to the match, Colón was well on his way to becoming a boxing champion. Born in Maitland, Florida and moving to his parents’ native Puerto Rico as a child, Colón became a professional boxer in 2012. By 2015, as per Sportskeeda, he had a “spotless” record with 16 wins and no losses.
Of course, no one could expect the tragedy that would ensue in his last match. The fight’s prize money was a whopping $50,000, a career-high for Colón. Even more, organizers actually slated it at the last minute. As per reports at the time, boxers Andre Dirrell and Blake Caparello were initially going to fight during the slot, but pulled out after Dirrell withdrew.
Alas, it was time for Colón’s fight against Williams. By the seventh round, Williams notably hit Colón on the back of his head. Boxing rules indicate that you cannot punch an opponent in the back, or the back of their head or neck. These “rabbit punches” are illegal in boxing.
In that moment, the Puerto Rican boxer reportedly told the referee, Joe Cooper, that Williams hit him in the back of his head. While Williams was deducted points for the “illegal” hits, Colón also looked toward the match’s attending doctor, Richard Ashby — who advised him to keep going.
In fact, as per The Washington Post, fight commentator Kenny Rice said on TV at the time: “[Ashby] told me that Colón said he was dizzy and hurting in the back of his head, but he felt he could go on.”
“[Ashby] said he’s just waiting for him to shake it off and resume action,” Rice added.
However, as per several outlets, these blows to the back of Colón’s head continued. The boxer continued to complain that he felt dizzy, and at one point was knocked down. His father noted years after the fight: “[Colón] just didn’t complain. But that day, he complained more than ever in his life.”
By the ninth round of the fateful fight, Colón’s team took off his gloves, effectively disqualifying him. After that, the Puerto Rican boxer collapsed, began to vomit, and had to be raised up by his mother on the way to the locker room.
The boxer’s mother described her son’s last fight as “a nightmare”
Colón was then rushed to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma. At that point, he went into a coma for 221 days. Eventually, the former boxer was transferred to live with his parents in Orlando, Florida, where he remained in a “vegetative state” for some time.
“It was a nightmare… Everything changed that night,” mother Nieves Colón told ESPN.
Today, Colón is slowly making progress, with his mother explaining, “I just want Prichard to be independent.”
Colón’s parents took over full caretaker duties to give their son the best life possible. Father Richard Colón explained to ESPN, “The doctors don’t give us hope.” His mother added to the outlet, “I cannot leave my son alone, because when he coughs, I need to suction him also.”
Meanwhile, Colón’s father described how he loves to take his son outside for fresh air.
In 2017, the former boxer’s family reportedly filed a $50 million lawsuit against the match’s physician, Dr. Richard Ashby, as well as HeadBangers Boxing and DiBella Entertainment.
However, as per recent reports, the lawsuit has still not been taken to trial. Even more, the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation’s report on the incident seemed to absolve both Cooper and Ashby of wrongdoing during the match.
As for Williams, the report read as so: “There does not appear to be any grounds to initiate a disciplinary action [against him].”
The report concluded that they would not blame one person or action for the tragedy. “While Colon’s medical condition following the contest against Williams is tragic,” it stated. “There is not one action so apparent and/or egregious to justify laying blame to any one person.”
Williams, who had his last fight in 2019, spoke about the horrifying incident to The Ring in 2018. “I pray for Prichard every day. That’s never going to change. I wish him nothing but peace and health,” he said at the time.
“No one wants what happened to Prichard to happen to anybody. All boxers are brothers,” Williams continued. “I would never intentionally harm someone like that.”
He also spoke about Colón’s family, describing how they said “malicious” words about him after the fight. “There has been a lot of malicious stuff that’s said about me, especially from the Colón family,” the boxer explained. “If that is how they’re going to cope with it and it helps them heal, then that’s what it is.”
“I’ll be healing for the rest of my life. I honestly never wanted to fight again after that fight. I understand and I know I didn’t do anything wrong that night,” Williams added.
Today, Colón’s mother remains hopeful about her son’s health and future.
“The only thing I ask from God is for Prichard to be independent,” she described. “Not for him to do everything perfectly how he did before… But for him not to depend so much on me, or whoever else is taking care of him.”
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