Jags Collier .... Paralyzed, One Leg Amputated
JACKSONVILLE, FL -- For the first time since Jaguars lineman Richard Collier was shot early on the morning of September 2, there is information on his condition.
At a news conference this afternoon at Shands hospital, where Collier has been since the shooting, his doctor explained exactly what happened to Collier.
Dr. Andy Kerwin says that Collier has 14 identified bullet wounds, including 5 to his urinary bladder and 2 to his lower spine, one of which left him paralyzed from the waist down.
These were life-threatening injuries, and he developed a blood clot which required the amputation of his left leg above the knee.
"It is with my deepest regret that Collier's career with the NFL is over" said his agent Jeff Jankovich. "Now Richard has a very difficult journey ahead of him but he is up to the challenge. His spirits are positive and he has a lot of support from his family and friends. His family wanted to keep the situation under wraps so that Richard would be the first to know. Richard is a kind and generous man and now he needs our thoughts and prayers."
Collier also developed pneumonia while he was on a ventilator, which is not uncommon, and will need rehab to learn about using a wheelchair.
Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio also spoke, saying "It's a great tragedy for a young man to have such a bright future, at the top of the food chain, to have not only his career but his health taken away."
Some of Colliers teammates were at the news conference, too. "Knowing that he's alive meant a lot to us; we were terrified he might die," said fellow lineman Tony Pashos.
Lineman Uche Nwaneri added, "We're going to be there for him whenever he needs it."
Jankovich, talking about Collier's future, points out that he does have a degree in Communications, and "He's talking about owning some businesses, doing some coaching, he wants to do things in the community."
Dr. Kerwin says the family, while devastated upon first learning the news, is upbeat. He also adds that Collier being a professional athlete in good physical condition greatly helped him survive and heal.
Collier himself says he felt "extreme grief" when he learned his playing career is over, but now his spirits are much higher, and he is not on any life support equipment.
He is talking with family members, and says he has no memory of what happened that night.
There is no word on when he will be released from the hospital.