TULSA, Okla. -- Tulane safety Devon Walker fractured his spine in a head-to-head collision with a teammate during a game in Tulsa, the team doctor said Saturday.
Dr. Buddy Savoie said during a postgame news conference that Walker is in stable condition and will need spinal surgery in the "the next day or two."
"He was stable when we transported him," Savoie said. "I do not think, based on the information we have, his life was ever in danger."
Tulsa was leading 35-3 when quarterback Cody Green tossed a short pass to Willie Carter. He was tackled around the 18-yard line, with defensive tackle Julius Warmsley and Walker sandwiching him and apparently smashing the crowns of their helmets into each other.
Medical personnel from both teams came out to attend to Walker as he lay on the field. Savoie said after the game that Walker "actually never completely lost consciousness" and was breathing.
He was lifted onto a stretcher and loaded into a waiting ambulance and taken to the hospital.
FOX Sports reported a hush went over the crowd as Walker was attended to on the field, and that several coaches were in tears. Spectators bowed their heads as someone on the field led the stadium in prayer.
Walker is a senior majoring in cell and molecular biology. His brother, Raynard, told The Associated Press that their mother was watching the game on television when her son was injured.
Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson
He said the mood among players was somber.
"Just seeing a young man, one of our family members, on the ground. It was just difficult for our guys," Johnson said. "I don't know if they could have focused."