Dr. Ernest Cole “E.C.” Brock, Jr., who served as Alabama’s team doctor from 1959 through 1982, died Saturday at his home in Tuscaloosa. Dr. Brock would have been 94 Thursday. His family said he died moments after Alabama scored a touchdown vs. LSU.
Brock was practicing orthopedic medicine and teaching at University Hospital (now UAB Hospital) when Paul Bryant returned to Alabama as head football coach and athletics director. After a chance meeting at the hospital, Bryant convinced Brock to move his practice to Tuscaloosa, which did not have an orthopedic practice.
At the time Dr. Brock was practicing orthopedic medicine (he interned under Dr. John Sherrill, Sr.) and teaching at University Hospital in Birmingham.
Brock had quit high school in 1943 to serve in World War II as a gunner on a B-29 bomber (he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross). He returned to graduate at Fairfield High School, and then went to Wake Forest to play football for Coach Peahead Walker.
A broken leg ended his football career, but he went on to earn his medical degree at Wake Forest.
Walker was visiting his brother in University Hospital and Bryant, who had coached the brother, was also visiting. It was there that Bryant urged Brock to move his practice to Tuscaloosa and become the team doctor.
Brock agreed to do it, but said it was an honor, and he never accepted payment for his services.
He served as Alabama’s team doctor for 25 years, the final 24 of the Bryant Era and the first year under Ray Perkins, but continued in private practice until 1992.
Former Alabama players who were treated by Dr. Brock included some of the most famous Crimson Tide players, including Joe Namath, Kenny Stabler, John Croyle, and Jeff Rutledge.
Dr. Brock is a member of the A-Club at Alabama and served for 25 years as a member of the selection committee for the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. He was a founding member of the First and Ten Club and the Tuscaloosa Red Elephant Club.
He was a member of the Alabama Orthopedic Society, the American Medical Association, Tuscaloosa County Medical Society, Southern Medical Society, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine. He served as chief of surgery at Druid City Hospital (now DCH Medical Center) in Tuscaloosa.
Dr. Brock met Hannah Culpepper of Cullman while practicing in Birmingham and after she became an anesthetist at UAB, they were married. The Brocks had four children, two boys and two girls, and have eight grandchildren. They were longtime members of Calvary Baptist Church, where his funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday. John Croyle will deliver the eulogy.