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Michigan Football: Ondre Pipkins' Neck Injury Shows Inherent Danger in Football

Photo via 247Sports.com
Photo via 247Sports.com
Adam JacobiBig Ten Football Lead WriterAugust 17, 2012

UPDATE, 6:30 pm ET: Pipkins is out of the hospital and "up and walking around while watching afternoon practice, doing well," per the official Michigan football Twitter feed. It looks as if this was just a scare. 

Scary, scary news from Michigan this morning, as freshman defensive lineman Ondre Pipkins suffered a neck injury during practice and was taken by ambulance to a university hospital. And the best news for Pipkins is that he's probably going to be okay.

Here's more from AnnArbor.com:

Michigan freshman defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins has movement in all his extremities after suffering a neck injury Friday morning in practice, coach Brady Hoke said in a statement.

The Wolverines called Huron Valley Ambulance at 8:53 a.m., according to an HVA spokesperson. Pipkins was in stable condition, but transported to U-M Health System for "precautionary measures."

What makes this especially frightening is that Pipkins is one of the most promising and enjoyable players on Michigan's entire roster. MGoBlog had a fantastic write-up on Pipkins just days prior to the injury, and in addition to him being an absolute beast on the field (he's 6'3", 340 lbs and athletic as hell), he's incredibly charismatic to boot.

Check out this video of him from the Army All-American Game, where as a Michigan commit he was already doing a dynamite Brady Hoke impression:

Now, the news that Pipkins' hospitalization is for "precautionary measures" is far, far better than what could have been the case. Spinal injuries are rare, but when they happen, the consequences are usually catastrophic. And there's virtually no telling when or where they're going to happen, or to whom.

That's the danger underlying every game, every practice and every play of college football. That's not to say it's a reason to not enjoy football or even discourage people from playing it—you're not going to convince anyone that Pipkins should be doing anything with his life but playing defensive tackle—but it's something worth keeping in mind.

So while the idea of someone like Pipkins—with his worlds of potential—being felled by something as cruel as a spinal-cord injury is wholly upsetting, it's great to hear that he's already got movement in his extremities, and it'll be great to see him back out on the field, whenever that day comes.

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