Monday night, the whole world of professional football held its collective breath as they witnessed Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage unable to stand up following a collision.
Two weeks before to Gage’s injury, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a heart collapse on the field during a Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals. After being struck, Hamlin stood and then fell back down. Wednesday he was discharged from a Buffalo hospital.
The Bucs wide receiver was hurt late in the fourth quarter of a wild-card playoff game at Raymond James Stadium while attempting to catch a ball from Tom Brady.
As Gage fell to the ground, Donovan Wilson, a Cowboys safety, whacked his neck with his arm.
“Just a frightening sight, watching Russell Gage try to get up and not being able to,” announcer Joe Buck said as players from both teams gathered around Gage.
After the 31-14 loss, Tampa Bay coach Todd Bowles provided a quick update on the 26-year-old receiver.
“They took him to the hospital. Right now, he has a concussion. They’re also testing him for potential neck injuries,” Bowles said.
The coach was asked if Gage’s extremities were mobile.
“His fingers were moving when he was down there. I don’t know about the rest,” Bowles said.
Gage tried to lift his head to get up after being struck, but he was unable to as he lay twitching on the field.
— Georgeous Washington (@trollslay3r) January 17, 2023
As he was first immobilized to preserve his neck and then transported off the field on a cart, players from both teams walked around with somber expressions.
Gage, who played college football at LSU, spent four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons before signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season.
“It was really tough — especially with what happened a couple weeks ago,” Bucs inside linebacker Lavonte David said after the game, according to ESPN.
“Russ is a great dude off the field and a great guy on the field. We definitely hope he’s well. He was moving and stuff like that; that was a good sign. Definitely hope he’s OK.”
Russell Gage Jr injury on the field as Tom Brady looks on, hope he’s alright pic.twitter.com/by8C6uGE2T
— Ted Buddwell 🏀🏈 (@TedBuddy8) January 17, 2023
Cam Brate, a Tampa Bay tight end, also discussed his teammate’s injuries.
“You hate to see a guy go down like that, especially with the game being kind of out of reach at that point. It’s really hard to see your teammate like that. We’re all thinking about Russ and hope he’s doing well. Yeah, it’s tough,” he said.