September 29, 2011
It's been a strange year for Ohio State, in a lot of unpleasant ways. But none of them have been remotely as puzzling or frightening as a Wednesday-morning incident involving sophomore running back/kick returner Jaamal Berry, who was admitted to the campus emergency room after allegedly attacking another student in an apparent fit of delirium. As described by the OSU student paper, The Lantern:
At about 10:25 a.m., two males were witnessed "wrestling on the ground" in the South Oval, according to the police report. The primary witness is a university employee who declined to comment, but said in the police report that Berry was muttering things such as "I don't know what is going on around me."
The report said Berry "appeared confused and disoriented and was unable to tell me his name."
The OSU police officer on the scene observed that Berry was "mentally unable to provide me with any of his emergency contact information," and Berry voluntarily went to the OSU emergency department. The associate director of athletics communication, Jerry Emig, said the department is aware of the incident and do not know if it will affect his play in the game on Saturday.
A professor who saw the incident described Berry as "clearly out of sorts and… quite disconnected from his surroundings," before he agreed to be admitted to the medical center. (An operator at the center confirmed to The Lantern tonight that he had been released.) The police report classified the incident as a misdemeanor assault, with "hands, feet, teeth" listed as weapons, but as of this evening no charges had been filed against Berry or the other student. The report also said there was no indication of alcohol. The chief of campus police said the department doesn't "release information on people that would be considered an uncharged suspect." An OSU spokesman confirmed to the Columbus Dispatch that "there are no legal issues."
I'm not that kind of doctor, but for now, obviously, health issues are the first priority. Berry was charged with felony drug possession shortly before arriving at Ohio State in 2009 after being pulled over with 28 grams of marijuana (later reduced to a misdemeanor), but he has no known history of mental problems. So far this season, even in the NCAA-mandated absence of suspended starter Boom Herron, Berry's barely seen the field over the first four games, ceding the tailback duties almost entirely to Carlos Hyde, Jordan Hall (who was also suspended for the first two games) and Rod Smith. Forget Saturday against Michigan State: Until someone diagnoses exactly how he lost his bearings in such dangerous fashion — and can assure coaches that it won't happen again — Buckeye fans probably shouldn't hold their breath to see Berry again for the foreseeable future.