SEATTLE — Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette says the neck injury he suffered last November against Dallas was so serious that he could have died if not for proper treatment from athletic trainers and medics on the field.
Lockette spoke to a group of paramedics and firefighters in Redmond, Washington, last week and video of his speech at Redmond Fire Station 11 was posted on Facebook. In the video, Lockette is still wearing a neck brace.
In the video, Lockette details how the hit from Dallas’ Jeff Heath on a kickoff return left Lockette with severe neck damage. Lockette says he was told by doctors that the ligaments and cartilage that help connect his vertebrae were so badly injured that if he had been pulled by a teammate or handled incorrectly by trainers he could have died.
"He said if I would have stood up then, the weight of my head — left, right, front, back — I would have died," Lockette said.
"If one of my teammates would have come over and pulled my arm, just barely, I might have died. Or if the returner at the time would have broken a couple of tackles and they would have fell on me, I would have died on that field."
Lockette was knocked out and laid motionless on the field for several minutes. He was eventually strapped to a backboard and taken off the field. Lockette underwent surgery at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas the next day to stabilize his neck and was told the trainers and medics handled his injury "perfectly."
"They did it perfectly by the book. The way they held my neck. All the training saved my life," Lockette said.
"Because if they had gone too far to the left or moved me without stabilizing this or that then I would have been dead. So I thank God that I'm here and thank you guys for the work that you do and if there is anything I can do to help you save another life, me, my teammates, my family are your workers."
There's been no timeframe set for when Lockette could begin football activity again, although he said in November he expected to be a Pro Bowl-caliber special teams player in 2016.