- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 5, 2002

BARTLETT, Ill. (AP) A 10-year-old girl who played on a tackle football team died after collapsing during practice.
Taylor Davison, the only girl on her team, collapsed after non-contact drills on Friday and died three days later.
The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office ruled that her death was caused by blunt trauma that led to a clot under the surface of her brain. A spokesman for the office said she had been hit during a full-contact practice earlier in the week.
But Taylor's mother, Susan Davison, questioned the ruling. She said doctors had told her her daughter had malformed blood vessels in her brain because she was a premature infant.
Dr. John Grant, a neurosurgeon at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said it would have taken a serious hit to cause the type of injury described in the medical examiner's report. It could occur days before death but should be accompanied by progressively worse headaches. Taylor never complained of a headache until just before her collapse.
"The trauma should have been very evident," Dr. Grant said. "You can't die from a trivial hit to the head at that age. It had to be something powerful."
Taylor played every position in the 800-player Bartlett Raiders organization, west of Chicago, and the boys considered her an equal in the sport, said Barry Brinn, president of the Raiders organization.
"The boys loved her as a teammate," he said. "She was a girl they could talk football with. Her coach said he drafted her because she had the heart of the lion and the smile of an angel."
"For some reason she loved being competitive with the boys," said her father, Todd Davison. "She begged to be on the team. She wanted to practice every day, and she cried last year when the season was over."

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