A Tulane football player who was seriously injured in a game at Tulsa on Saturday had spinal surgery and is expected to remain in the Intensive Care Unit for a few days, the university said in a statement Sunday evening.
Tulane University's team physician, Dr. Greg Stewart, said Devon Walker had a three-hour surgery at St. Francis Hospital on Sunday afternoon and neurosurgeons stabilized his spine.
"He is now in recovery," the statement from Stewart, which was released about 8:30 p.m, said. "… it will be several days before we can assess his condition post-surgery."
The injury to Walker occurred on the last play of the first half in the University of Tulsa's home-opener.
Walker, who is a 21-year-old senior safety for Tulane, collided with teammate Julius Warmsley while trying to tackle Tulsa halfback Willie Carter.
Walker then rolled on his back and didn't move.
It appeared as though medical crews were administering CPR as he lay motionless.
Players, trainers and coaches were on the field crying as crews attended to Walker, and a chaplain offered a prayer over the stadium's public address system.
Crews worked on Walker for about 30 minutes, and he was transported by EMSA to St. Francis in serious condition. Hospital staff changed his condition to critical upon arrival, a St. Francis spokesperson said Saturday.
After Walker was admitted to the hospital, Tulane team doctor Buddy Savoie said the injury was classified as a "cervical spine fracture," there was swelling and Walker was immobilized.
It is too early to tell if Walker will experience paralysis because of his injuries, Stewart told a New Orleans newspaper Sunday.
Walker is a former walk-on player who earned a scholarship. He is majoring in cell and molecular biology.
His family traveled to Tulsa from New Orleans on Saturday evening to be by his side.