Malik Cunningham, a quarterback for Louisville ended up having to be stretchered off the field on Saturday with what appeared to be some sort of head or neck injury.
Cunningham was injured late in the game and was hit as he threw the ball. As he landed he appeared to hit his head hard on the turf.
He had to be attended to on the field and was taken off on a stretcher and cart wearing a neck brace, but he managed to give a thumbs up in a 23-20 loss to Pittsburgh.
Quarterback Malik Cunningham was hit while throwing the ball during Louisville’s game against Pittsburgh
Malik Cunningham #3 of the Louisville Cardinals throws an interception as he is hit by Calijah Kancey #8 of the Pittsburgh Panthers in the fourth quarter during the game at Heinz Field
Cunningham ended up hitting the ground hard and stayed down
Cunningham was seen lying face down on the turf at Heinz Field for nearly 10 minutes, as emergency medical staff removed his jersey and pads before strapping him to a backboard.
He was eventually rolled over onto his back. As he was being taken off the field, Cunningham gave a ‘thumbs up’ to fans as he left.
‘That’s the soldier mentality in him. He gave it his all and he got twisted up. He put his thumb up to let us know he was good so we are going to get back and get better,’ running back Javian Hawkins said to the Courier Journal.
Early indications are that Cunningham was expected to make a full recovery according to AL.com.
Hassan Hall #19 of the Louisville Cardinals checks on injured teammate Malik Cunningham #3 in the fourth quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers
Trainers tend to Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham (3) after he was injured
Cunningham is carted off the field by paramedics after being injured on a play in the fourth quarter
While he was being carted off, Cunningham gave a thumbs-up to his team and fans
The Louisville Cardinals later tweeted in support of their player: ‘He’s a fighter. #3 with the thumbs up.’
The head coach Scott Satterfield did not describe the exact nature of Cunningham’s injury but noted that he was moving all of his limbs while on the ground.
‘He stepped up on that play. They had some pass rushers there, and it looked like he got his feet caught up under a couple of their defenders. He got twisted a little bit,’ Satterfield said.
‘It looks like he’s going to be fine,’ he continued. ‘I don’t want to speculate. Obviously they are doing everything precautionary, but he was moving everything.
‘The medical team takes every precaution. That’s why they took him in to further evaluate him. I have not gotten an update on that, so anything else would be speculation. He did have feeling in his body and his extremities, so that’s positive.’
Malik Cunningham #3 of the Louisville Cardinals is loaded onto a stretcher after being injured on a play in the fourth quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field