Detroit Mercy AD Denies WBB Team Forced Players to Play Through Injuries

Last week, the University of Detroit Mercy athletic director Robert Vowels shared details into the school’s internal investigation against women’s basketball head coach AnnMarie Gilbert for allegations that her program disregarded COVID-19 protocol and she forced players to practice injured, among other claims.

The results of the internal investigation, outlined by The Detroit Free Press, found “the most serious allegations were found to be false and unsubstantiated,” Vowels said.

detroitDespite the school investigation, The Detroit Free Press reported that, according to one former player, Gilbert forced her to practice while awaiting test results for cancer and make a road trip while sick. Additionally, The Free Press reported that the team’s athletic trainer told the same player to lie about not having COVID-19 symptoms when she felt ill. Both of these claims by The Free Press have been confirmed by multiple sources, the outlet reported.

“(Gilbert) always told me I could come to her whenever,” the player said last weekend evening to The Free Press under the condition of anonymity. “She didn’t even do anything for me. … It was just a constant belittling and just not even caring about my health, and that’s something I take very seriously.”

Both Gilbert and Vowels, according to The Free Press, denied players were forced to work out or play while injured.

“Again, that was not substantiated,” Vowels said to The Free Press. “Injuries occurred, but they were properly addressed. No player ever — I repeat, ever — played who hadn’t been cleared to play on the daily injury sheet.”

» ALSO SEE: HBCU Tennesse State May Add Men’s & Women’s Hockey

“No one was forced to travel, no one was made to travel. We had enough players to travel and compete with a healthy team. A lot of times, individuals don’t want to forego or miss games,” Gilbert said to The Free Press. “But between the trainer and the player, they talk about that. And as Robert Vowels said, we don’t force anyone to play or participate that is not able to do so.”

To read the full story from The Detroit Free Press, click here