Medical staffs in Dallas, New Orleans earn praise
The hard-hitting violence of the NFL certainly was on display Sunday. So was the quick work of medical responders, particularly in Dallas and New Orleans.
Frightening incidents involving Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette on special teams against Dallas, and Saints running back Khiry Robinson against the Giants, brought a hush to the two stadiums. They also brought into focus just how effective medical personnel can be in a critical time.
''I don't think I've ever been part of something that scary,'' Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said after the game.
''We have a genuine care for each other and he's our brother,'' Saints rookie linebacker Stephone Anthony said. ''Everybody had their hands reached out praying for him and praying he gets back.''
Lockette remained in the Dallas area - as did teammates Russell Okung and Marshawn Lynch - and had neck surgery on Monday afternoon. He is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days, but the team said he will be up and moving around as early as Tuesday and his neurological signs are positive.
Robinson broke his right leg when Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins landed on top of him. He had surgery Sunday night and is done for the season.
Both injuries could have developed into something more dire had the trainers and doctors on hand not acted so expertly. In Lockette's case, he was running downfield on punt coverage and when he turned, he was hit by Dallas safety Jeff Heath. Lockette immediately collapsed, unconscious, as medics reached him.
He was out for several moments and the attending personnel wisely didn't rush things. At that point, the game becomes secondary.
After his face mask was removed from his helmet, Lockette was placed on a stretcher and loaded onto a motorized cart. He was talking while moving both hands, pointed his right hand toward his Seattle teammates on the sideline, and then thrust his index finger high into the air.
''We are highly trained, even though this type of injury does not happen very often, we drill these scenarios so that we are prepared for everything that might happen,'' said Donald Rich, the Seahawks' head athletic trainer. ''Each and every person knows his or her role in the rescue, which allows us to be as efficient and coordinated as possible.
''When coming upon an athlete with a suspected head/neck or spine injury our first concerns are to evaluate the situation, establish basic vital signs ... and establish stabilization. Once vitals are stable, maintaining spinal stabilization is the most critical component in order to minimize movement until the appropriate testing can be done to establish a stable spine and rule out risk of further injury.''
All of which was handled spot-on by Seahawks medical personnel, with help from their counterparts with the Cowboys.
The intensive care doesn't end at the stadium, of course.
''Once he gets to the hospital, Ricardo has to go through a series of imaging including X-rays, CT scan and MRI to establish the severity of his injuries,'' Rich added. ''Once a diagnosis is made, a management plan can be put into place. The other members of the Dallas medical staff were instrumental in helping control the scene on the field and making sure that we had everything we needed to provide the best possible care to Ricardo.''
In total, nearly three dozen people attended to Lockette. Two Seahawks medical staff members, Michael Tankovich and CJ Neumann, stayed in Dallas, as well.
Robinson's gruesome injury had several players on both sides looking away, nauseated. Teammates huddled around him and prayed as athletic trainers fitted his leg with an air cast before Robinson was driven off the field.
''When there's an injury that takes place and they're able to see the type of injury ... the first thought is just the amount of work that a guy like Khiry's put in, and all of a sudden knowing that his season's come to an end,'' Saints coach Sean Payton said.
Not really. The first thought is to get him treated immediately and properly. Thankfully, in Big D and the Big Easy, that happened on Sunday.
AP Sports Writers Tim Booth and Brett Martel contributed to this story.
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