Anthony Conner from Louisville – Broken Neck
Football is well known as a sport that puts players at risk for a wide range of injuries, including ankle, knee, and hip injuries. However, studies have also found that football is one of the leading sports behind athlete neck injuries, ranging from contusions, sprains, and strains to fractures and dislocations of the vertebrae that support the head. One such example of a neck injury occurred in October of 2011, when cornerback Anthony Conner broke his neck during a college football game between the University of Louisville and Rutgers University.
Anthony Connor was playing cornerback for the University of Louisville Cardinals when he was injured early in the second quarter of the game. During the third play of the second quarter, Rutgers player Mohamed Sanu received the ball from his quarterback and was subsequently tackled by Connor, whose head came into contact with Sanu’s knee during the move. The force of the impact broke Connor’s neck and caused him to lose consciousness for several seconds. When he woke, he could feel and move his extremities, but on-field medics treated him for a neck injury and transported him to a nearby hospital, where it was discovered that although he was not paralyzed, Connor had indeed broken his neck.
Speaking about his experience after the fact, Connor said that the diagnosis of a broken neck came as a surprise to him. During his recovery, he chose to focus on the reality of his situation—although he would recover fully with time and extensive physical therapy, his broken neck would end his career as a college football player. In the time following his recovery, Connor has described his experience both immediately following the injury and during the recovery process as an emotional journey. Speaking with players such as Eric LeGrand, a Rutgers player that was paralyzed by a fractured vertebrae one year before Connor’s injury, helped him to stay positive throughout the recovery process.