SKIATOOK, OK -- An Oklahoma Thunder football player is paralyzed from the ribcage down after he sustained a severe spinal cord injury and fractured neck Saturday.
Emeka Nnaka collided with a teammate and member of the opposing Arkansas War Cats team during kickoff, according to a news release from the World Football League.
Nnaka was taken to Washington Regional hospital in Fayetteville, Ark., where he was awaiting surgery. Several coaches are staying with him until his family can arrive from Georgia on Monday. They say he is in good spirits despite his bleak prognosis.
The 21-year-old is a defensive end for the minor-league Thunder team and attends Oral Roberts University. He spends his spare time working with children.
Despite his injury, Nnaka's first concern was whether he made the tackle, the release states.
A fund has been created in Nnaka's name to offset the cost of his medical expenses. Donations can be made at any Exchange Bank, the Oklahoma Thunder football games or sent to the Oklahoma Thunder office at 311 East Rogers Boulevard in Skiatook.
The Oklahoma Thunder is based in the Tulsa area. The team was undefeated and won the WFL championship last season.