Sometimes the sobering reality of life can make it hard to enjoy diversions—especially when the diversion is the agent for delivering said sober reality.
That was the case not once, but twice on Saturday night.
During the South Florida-Florida International game, South Florida linebacker Brouce Mompremier wound up colliding with safety Carlton Williams during a play in the Bulls' 17-9 win against FIU.
Mompremier hit Williams’ hip and went down. He was then carted off the field and airlifted to a hospital, where he spent the night under observation. Mompremier has tingling in his neck and shoulders, but is otherwise okay and is expected to miss at least two games.
Meanwhile, in Bloomington, Indiana, things appeared to be a lot worse.
Ball State wide receiver/kick returner Dante Love suffered an accidental helmet-to-helmet hit from Indiana cornerback Chris Adkins. Love fumbled the ball and fell to the turf during Ball State’s 42-20 win. Love remained motionless and felt numbness in his extremities.
Love suffered a cervical spine fracture and a spinal cord injury. He has recovered movement in his extremities, but his playing career is over.
I give football players all the credit in the world. I never had a chance to play (my high school didn’t have a football team), but I cringe whenever something like this happens.
It’s human nature.
These are big bodies colliding at impressive rates of speed, and while it’s interesting to hear the collisions and see the impact, it’s also terrifying.
These were routine plays: two defenders trying to make a play on a ball. A receiver trying to gain a couple of yards more by trying to run over a defender.
These weren’t malicious hits. One was teammate-on-teammate. The other was a clean play. Nothing dirty or illegal about it.
Yet lives get changed.
We know Love’s career as a football player is over. We still don’t know about Mompremier.
It just reminds us of how fragile it all can be.