Just 24 hours before the first football Sunday of the year, we were reminded how heartbreaking a game football can be.
Tulane senior safety Devon Walker fractured his spine (essentially a broken neck) during the team's Saturday game against Tulsa. Walker will undergo spinal surgery in the next 24 to 48 hours. Tulane team doctor Greg Stewart said Walker had some feeling in his arms and legs, but Walker's risk of paralysis is unclear.
"I think it's unknown," Stewart said via The Times-Picayune. "We talked to the (team) tonight about it, and the reality is you don't know for 24 to 48 hours. It doesn't matter how they present. You do that 24 to 48 hours before you really know what is going on. ... That's what I told the guys is what we know is that we don't know and anyone who comes out and tells you that they do know -- they don't know. The reality of where we are right now is saying our prayers and sitting and waiting."
Walker, a Louisiana native, is a senior who worked his way up from a non-scholarship walk-on player his first two years, to a scholarship athlete, to a starting safety. He is a cell and molecular biology major with plans to become a pharmacist after graduation.
Walker's family saw the injury while watching the game on television.
This is a college football story, but we're all football fans here. And we know that many football fans will have Walker in their thoughts today, wishing him and his family the best in the difficult days ahead.Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.