Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette suffered devastating neck injuries last November on a punt return in Dallas, and revealed to a group of paramedics that he could have died on the field if not for the help of trainers at the scene.
As Lockette was running downfield, he was blocked illegally by Dallas’ Jeff Heath and crumpled to the ground, but was fortunately not touched by any other players. Seconds after the play was over, trainers were on the field attending to Lockette, who was very carefully lifted onto a cart. Lockette found out later that his injuries were so severe that if his head shifted in the wrong direction, he might not be alive today.
Lockette visited a group of firefighters and paramedics in Redmond, Washington, and thanked them for their service.
“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.”
Lockette underwent surgery following the game and returned to CenturyLink Field two weeks later wearing a neck brace.