LAWRENCE — David Beaty indicated Kansas football's practice Wednesday wasn't quite the same following offensive lineman Jacobi Lott's serious and scary injury.
But the fourth-year coach wasn't necessarily disappointed by that drop off in focus.
"It certainly has an impact, there's no doubt about it, because if you care about people, it better have an impact," Beaty said at a Thursday news conference. "If it doesn't and you're just going to the next play, then I think there's something wrong with the platform that you have."
Lott suffered an undisclosed injury midway through Wednesday's practice. He was stabilized by responding medical personnel and taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital where he remained in stable condition and was responding normally to evaluations. Lott's parents, Charlie Lott and Donita Woods, made it to Lawrence on Wednesday night and remained with their son, whose condition was unchanged as of Thursday afternoon.
Beaty cited privacy concerns in refusing to give further detail on the nature of Lott's injury or whether the team expects him to return, but he did say the player was in "great hands" going forward.
"As I've said many times before, our players' health and well-being, that's our top priority, and it always has been," Beaty said. "That's somebody's family treasure. We look at it that way, and it's our family treasures too, every single one of them, all 115 of them."
Beaty said there's always hope these incidents turn out to be false alarms, but stressed the program takes "the highest level of precautions" when dealing with situations such as what happened Wednesday. He cited his own daughters as inspiration for making sure player safety is a top concern.
"That's how we do it in our family," Beaty said. "Those are our babies, and when (parents) hand them over to us, they entrust them to us, and the number one thing is health and safety. We already play a game that's inherently got dangers involved, so we try to be very, very cautious with those guys, and we're very mindful of what other players are seeing when something like that maybe happens."
Lott's father played football at Texas Tech, and his uncle, Ronnie Lott, is a Hall of Fame defensive back who won four Super Bowl championships with the San Francisco 49ers. A three-star prospect at recruiting outlet Rivals.com, Lott chose KU over Texas and six other programs last December.
Beaty said he was "amazed" with how KU's sports medicine team and doctors handled Lott's situation, commending head football athletic trainer Owen Stanley by name. He also said he was "proud" of how his players, specifically Lott's fellow offensive linemen, finished practice despite the incident.
"One of the things I've loved about this camp is just watching our player-led effort here, and that's something that's been really fun to watch," Beaty said. "And because of that, those guys are invested in each other. It's truly a family."
One of those team leaders is senior linebacker Joe Dineen, who said Beaty's frequent updates on Lott's status throughout the rest of practice helped everyone push through an incident Dineen described as "kind of a freak thing."
"He's a hard worker. He's really good. I think he's going to be really good for us," Dineen said of Lott. "He's a big body and you can tell when he gets out there he's physical. I think when he gets back he's going to be really good for us."
Junior quarterback Carter Stanley said Lott's injury occurred during an 11-on-11 drill, adding he's heard the lineman is "doing well." He's hopeful Lott will be back with the team soon.
"I really like the kid personally," Stanley said. "He's super humble. He just comes in and works every day. He's not necessarily a jokester. He's not necessarily a loudmouth guy. He comes in and works every day."