Loved ones and teammates of a Tulane University football player who fractured his spine while making a tackle will face an agonizing wait to learn how serious the injury is and whether it will leave him paralyzed. (Photo: AP)
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Loved ones and teammates of a Tulane University football player who fractured his spine while making a tackle will face an agonizing wait to learn how serious the injury is and whether it will leave him paralyzed.
Senior safety Devon Walker was in stable condition and recovering in an intensive-care unit after a three-hour surgery to stabilize his spine at St. Francis Hospital, said Dr. Greg Stewart, Tulane’s director of sports medicine.
“These kind of injuries take 24, 48, sometimes 72 hours to fully declare themselves,” Stewart said before the surgery. “We don’t know what the long-term implications and outcomes are going to be.”
Stewart said he was with Walker on the field, in the ambulance and at the hospital after the injury Saturday. He said Walker was put into a cervical collar and couldn’t see much of what was happening, so Stewart explained what was going on. Walker was talking with doctors as he was being treated, Stewart said.
Walker’s parents had traveled to Oklahoma to be with their son, and they were “doing as well as can be expected,” Stewart said.
“They’re like the rest of us — hopeful and prayerful.”
Stewart was back in New Orleans on Sunday, as were Walker’s teammates. He said Tulane’s athletic director and the football team’s trainer remained in Oklahoma with Walker.
Walker’s injury occurred on the final play of the first half, hours after Tulane opened the Conference USA portion of its schedule against Tulsa. Tulsa was leading 35-3 and facing a fourth-and-2 with the ball at the 33-yard line on Saturday when the Golden Hurricane called timeout. Tulane then called timeout.