Back in November, Seattle Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette found himself at the center of perhaps the scariest moment in the relatively short history of AT&T Stadium, when a hit by Cowboys’ safety Jeff Heath on a punt return left him crumpled motionless on the turf.
Lockette recently opened up about that day to a group of first responders in Redmond, Washington, and in doing so revealed just how easily he could have lost his life.
“[The doctor] said if I would have stood up then, the weight of my head—left, right, front, back—I would have died,” Lockette said, per Tim Booth of the Associated Press. “If one of my teammates would have come over and pulled my arm, just barely, I might have died. Or if the returner at the time would have broken a couple of tackles and they would have fell on me, I would have died on that field.”
Luckily, the doctors and trainers on the field that day in Arlington handled the situation “perfectly,” in Lockette’s words.
“They did it perfectly by the book. The way they held my neck. All the training saved my life,” Lockette said. “Because if they had gone too far to the left or moved me without stabilizing this or that then I would have been dead. So I thank God that I'm here and thank you guys for the work that you do and if there is anything I can do to help you save another life, me, my teammates, my family are your workers.”
Having suffered some serious ligament damage and disc issues, Lockette was taken from AT&T Stadium to the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, where he underwent surgery and stayed before going home to Seattle after a week. He plans on returning in 2016, but there's no known timetable for his return.