The internet is empathizing with Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, who was seen crying after a collision during Thursday night’s matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
Kuechly’s facemask appeared to hit the helmet of Saints’ running back Tim Hightower while he was tackling him; he then took a blow to the back of the head from his own teammate Thomas Davis, The Huffington Post reports.
After remaining down for some time, Kuechly was eventually carted off the field and taken to get evaluated for a concussion. The athlete was deeply sobbing as he was being carried out of the stadium. He reportedly missed three games after a head injury last season in compliance with the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Sports concussions are being taken much more seriously in recent years since they’ve been linked to traumatic brain injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which can lead to memory loss, depression, and dementia, among other mental health problems.
The visible agony that Kuechly was in quickly became a point of concern for viewers and announcers Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth, according to The Huffington Post.
Just getting home and all I can say is prayers up for #LukeKuechly , hoping for a full recovery, hate to see any kind of brain injury??— Detroit Moments (@DetroitMoments) November 18, 2016
Okay if LUKE KUECHLY is crying from an injury, I can't imagine what that pain feels like— Wes (@WesleyManning6) November 18, 2016
Even Golden State Warriors star point guard Stephen Curry tweeted well wishes to Kuechly and commended him on his dedication to the game.
Keep your head up #59! Nobody plays the game harder than you my man. Heal up Quick! #KeepPounding— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) November 18, 2016
“There’s no real words to really describe it,” said Kuechly’s teammate Greg Olsen. “It all comes down to you just hope he’s OK. It’s really all we can do.”
Despite that heart-wrenching moment, the Panthers pulled out a win over the Saints with a final score of 23-20.
The Panthers coach Ron Rivera said that Kuechly is on concussion protocol, but did not offer any details about the extent of his injury or when or if he is expected to return.
The outpouring of support Kuechly has received is incredibly moving; hopefully he makes a swift recovery.
Banner Photo Credit: Twitter @johnarwood