Darrius Heyward-Bey went down to the turf hard after a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit late in the Oakland Raiders contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers, laying motionless for several minuets.
Though the hit looked bad on video and replay, the Washington Post reported that he was listed in stable condition at the hospital, where he was kept overnight.
Darrius Heyward-Bey was running across the endzone late in the contest when he jumped to catch the ball and was hit by two Steelers defenders. Pittsburgh safety Ryan Mundy nailed Heyward-Bey, hitting the wide receiver’s facemask with his helmet.
Heyward-Bey fell to the turn unconscious, where his eyes remained closed for 10 minutes while trainers attended to him.
Amazingly, the hit did not earn a flag from the referees, despite the fact that the defender clearly led with his helmet.
Mundy, who will likely face a fine, said he didn’t intend to hit Heyward-Bey in the helmet. After the play Mundy fell to a knee and prayed for the wide receiver.
“I didn’t go in there trying to hit him with my helmet,” said Mundy. “Things like that happen so fast. He may have come down to the level of my helmet. I have to see the replay, I don’t know.”
As he was being carted off the field, Darrius Heyward-Bey gave fans a thumbs up, the first sign that he had regained consicouness for the nervous fans in attendance. The move earned a roar from the nearly silent crowd.
“He was able to talk a little bit,” Raiders Coach Dennis Allen said. “He was able to move his extremities, so that’s a good sign.”
Doctors said Darrius Heyward-Bey will undergo more testing Monday, ESPN.com reported. For now it appears to be more of a neck injury than a concussion, they said.