Big hits are a fact of life in NFL football, that's why paramedics are on standby near the field. One such hit at AT&T Stadium left a Seattle Seahawks player with a career-ending injury, and on Wednesday he got emotional thanking Arlington paramedics for rushing to his rescue.
Ricardo Lockette was injured when he was hit by Dallas Cowboys safety Jeff Heath covering a punt in the game against the Seahawks on Nov 1, 2015.
Arlington paramedics rushed to his side as he lay motionless on the star at midfield. Lockette left on a stretcher and had surgery the next day to repair damaged ligaments in his neck.
Lockette hoped to return to the team, but in May 2016 he announced his retirement.
Lockette has often talked of his gratitude for the paramedics he credits with saving his life that day.
On Wednesday, while speaking to the Washington Fire Chiefs Conference in Spokane, he was surprised to find out two members of the Arlington Fire Department were there for him, again.
"The reason I'm standing here, the reason that I have an opportunity to hug my mom now, the reason that I got an opportunity to go to my daughter's graduation from elementary school yesterday is because of you guys," Lockette told the crowd. "It's more like I'm talking to my angels, it's more like I'm talking to people that saved my life."
KXLY-TV was there to capture the surprise reunion, as Deputy Chief Gerald Randall and Engineer Paramedic John Robertson, who were in the audience, were called up to reunite with Lockette.
Lockette got emotional as he hugged and thanked the men. They too were moved.
"Seeing him in person, knowing where we came from, from the past [to] now, and seeing how it's changed a lot of lives, not just for now but for the future," said Robertson. "You try to keep your composure a little bit, but it's hard to do that sometimes."
Lockette called meeting Randall and Robertson "a privilege, a blessing. Something that I don't take lightly."