Tennessee State linebacker Christion Abercrombie is in “very critical condition,” as he recovers from emergency surgery after suffering a head injury, Tigers coach Rod Reed said Sunday on his radio show.
Abercrombie complained to trainers about having a headache shortly before halftime of Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt and collapsed a short time later. He was rushed to nearby Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., and underwent emergency surgery.
He is listed in critical condition by the hospital.
SEC Network broadcasters said Saturday night that Abercrombie was unresponsive when he arrived at Vanderbilt Medical Center.
Reed said the injury occurred on a routine play.
“It was just a football play,” Reed said on WNSR radio in Nashville. “He was taking on a block and it wasn’t anything malicious or dirty or anything like that. Just an unfortunate situation.”
Reed said the training staff immediately noticed Abercrombie was seriously injured.
“Immediately, you go into concussion protocol at that point,” Reed said. “He was removed from the game and as they were taking him into the locker room he collapsed and the EMTs took over from there.”
Reed went to the hospital after the contest to support Abercrombie. He said Tennessee State president Glenda Glover and athletics director Teresa Phillips went with him. He said Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams also went to the hospital.
Immediately after the contest, Commodores coach Derek Mason inquired about Abercrombie’s condition and players from both teams prayed for him at midfield.
“At the end of the day, I’m a football coach coaching a team and coaching a game, but football’s what we do, not who we are,” Mason said. “I know what it is to be a coach. I know what it is to have a player who’s injured. At the end of the day, when serious injuries happen, football becomes secondary.”
Abercrombie (6-foot-1, 230 pounds) is in his first season with Tennessee State after spending two years at Illinois. He had five tackles against Vanderbilt before he collapsed.
Vanderbilt won the contest 31-27.
—Field Level Media