Back in November, Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette took a huge hit on a punt return from the Dallas Cowboys’ Jeff Heath. Lockette was running down the field to make a tackle when Heath stepped in front and smashed into him head up. After the collision, Lockette lay motionless on the turf before being carted off the field on a stretcher.
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Two weeks later, Lockette was back at Centurylink Field wearing a neck brace. If that seems like a quick recovery time, the injury was worse than you think.
Lockette recently went to the Redmond (Washington) Fire Station to convey his thanks to the paramedics who transported him properly after the play. He said:
“I didn’t really realize how serious it was until it was over. The doctor told me … all the muscles, all the ligaments that connect my vertebrae, and the cartilage between that … the cartilage is out, ligaments are torn. He said if I would have stood up then, the weight of my head—left, right, front, back—I would have died. If one of my teammates would have came over and pulled my arm, just barely, I might have died. Or if the returner had broken a couple tackles and fell on me, I would have died on that field.
But what saved my life were the trainers, and the work that you guys do. The trainers came over, and they said they did it perfectly. Perfectly, by the book.”
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Here is a recent picture of Lockette hanging out with Chief Smith of the Redmond Fire Station. As you can see, he is still wearing a neck brace.