Ole Miss tight end Damarcus Thomas was released from the hospital on Monday night after suffering a potentially serious and extremely scary injury at practice.
According to The Clarion Ledger, Rebels coach Lane Kiffin said a hit left Thomas “motionless and without feeling in his body for several minutes.” Kiffin said Thomas later was able to experience some feeling in his body, but the freshman’s prognosis is unclear.
Later Monday, Ole Miss released an update saying that all evaluations on Thomas “have been positive to this point.”
“He has regained movement in all of his extremities and the physicians are optimistic,” a statement from Ole Miss assistant AD for sports medicine Pat Jernigan said.
Thomas was first transported to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford before being airlifted by helicopter to the Memphis Regional Medical Center for further evaluation. All of his medical tests came back normal later on Monday night, the team said, and he was then released.
Lane Kiffin shaken by injury
Ole Miss ended practice immediately on Monday after Thomas was injured.
Kiffin said he's never seen an injury like this in his lifetime in football. Kiffin ended practice immediately after the injury and the entire team and coaching staff waited outside with Thomas until an ambulance arrived. When the ambulance did arrive, it was determined that he'd need to be helicoptered to a hospital because of the severity of the injury.
Kiffin was so shaken by Thomas’ injury that he called his ex-wife and told her that he doesn’t care if their son ever plays football again.
"They keep touching him going, 'Do you feel this? Do you feel this?' He keeps saying no," Kiffin said. "And you're thinking about your own kid. I don't know. That's the first time I'd seen something where I just called [Kiffin's son] Knox's mom and said I couldn't care less whether he ever plays football ever after seeing that."
Per The Clarion-Ledger, Ole Miss running back Jerrion Ealy told reporters that Thomas’ injury occurred on a “normal football play” and was a “freak accident.” Kiffin said the hope is that Thomas sustained some sort of “severe stinger.”
Thomas, 18, is a 6-foot-1, 245-pound freshman from Whatley, Alabama. He has played in five games so far this season for Ole Miss, including in the team’s win over Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Ole Miss is 2-4 on the season and has a bye this week before returning to action against South Carolina at home on Nov. 14.
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