FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Kent Waldrep, a TCU running back who became an advocate for disabled people after a spinal injury during a game left him paralyzed, has died. He was 67.
His mother, Denise Waldrep, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that her son had died Sunday in Natchitoches, Louisiana. TCU confirmed his death in a Tuesday statement to The Associated Press.
“We were saddened to learn of the passing of Kent Waldrep.” TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati said in the statement. “He was and will always be an important part of TCU and our football program.”
No cause of death was given. Waldrep would have turned 68 on Wednesday.
After his injury during a 1974 game at Alabama left him paralyzed, Waldrep went on to help raise tens of millions of dollars around the world for paralysis research.
He served on the National Council of Disability during the Reagan and first Bush administrations and helped draft and win passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. He also chaired the Texas Rehabilitation Commission and the grant committee of the College Football Assistance Fund that provides financial aid to football players who suffer serious injuries.
Waldrep sued TCU for worker’s compensation, arguing that as a player he was a TCU employee. A Travis County jury rejected his claim in 1997, and a state appeals court declined to overturn the verdict.