Spinal Injury Ends Career of NCAA’s Top Receiver

It was a rough weekend for college football players, as three Division I-A players suffered frightening apparent spinal injuries on Saturday. Luckily, the prognosis for all three is relatively good, as they are each expected to recover well enough to live normal lives.

Dante Love

Dante Love was averaging 144 yards per game in 2008

The luckiest is South Florida linebacker Brouce Mompremier, whose injury was feared to be serious after he lay motionless on the field after a collision during the Bulls’ game with Florida International. But on Sunday it was revealed that he didn’t have any serious damage and may be able to return to the field in a matter of weeks. Ball State’s Dante Love and Washington State’s Gary Rogers weren’t so fortunate, though.

Video of Love’s injury after the jump.

Love was the nation’s leading receiver in yardage heading into Saturday’s game at Indiana. During the second quarter of that game Love was injured after making helmet-to-helmet contact with a Hoosier defender after a catch. Love was alert and speaking when taken off the field but complained of numbness in his arms and a loss of feeling in his legs. And today, we learned that the senior’s football career is over. Sadly, Love was considered an NFL draft prospect and won’t get to realize that dream. From the MUNCIE STAR PRESS:

Ball State officials confirmed today that Ball State wide receiver Dante Love’s playing career is “expected to be over” after a violent collision during the second quarter of Saturday’s 42-20 win over Indiana University.

The statement from the school, issued by Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs Joe Hernandez, also said that after a rehabilitation period, Love is “expected to be able to live a normal and healthy life.”

Meanwhile, the injury to Washington State’s Rogers adds more misery to what is shaping up to be another rough year for the Cougs. Portland State safety Aaron Dickson was penalized for a late hit on Rogers that didn’t look particularly brutal at the time, but fractured a bone in Rogers’ neck. The SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER’s Howie Stalwick writes that the fifth-year senior has been sitting on the bench for four years waiting for his turn, and now his career appears to be over:

WSU head trainer Bill Drake said “it’s just too early” to determine if Rogers will be able to play football again, but the fifth-year senior’s career at WSU is over. Drake said Rogers will wear a hard collar for six weeks to stabilize “the seventh bone down from the base of the skull and the neck.”

Maybe it’s just me, but does it seem like these kind of injuries are getting more common? I’m not sure what can be done to prevent them. It seems like it would be a good idea for the NCAA to begin handing out ejections and/or suspensions for dangerous and late hits, but looking at Love’s injury, there wasn’t really anything excessive or illegal about the hit.