Suffered torn inferior vena cava
Houston Cougar defensive back D.J. Hayden remains alert and in stable yet critical condition in Memorial Hermann's ICU following surgery to repair a blood vessel in his abdomen.
Team doctors say he suffered a torn inferior vena cava -- a large vein that carries blood from the lower body to the heart. It happened during practice this week.
KTRH medical expert Dr. Joe Galati likens it more to being in a car wreck.
"Certainly the hit was a freak accident, and it just propelled the heart and the great vessels in the wrong direction with the wrong speed and literally put a tear into this major vein, and could have resulted in a quick death," says Galati.
It's not known yet whether Hayden will ever return to playing football.
"The type of injury D.J. had is 95 percent fatal in the field and we are all very thankful for the coordinate response from the University of Houston trainers, EMS paramedics, the trauma team at Memorial Hermann and operating surgeon Dr. John Holcomb," said Dr. Walter Lowe, the head team physician.
"D.J. is a tremendous young man and has been a great asset to our program, both on and off the field. I ask that everyone continue to keep D.J. and his family in their thoughts and prayers," said head football coach Tony Levine. "We are very fortunate to have some of the nation's top physicians and medical facilities just minutes away from our campus and I would like to extend our appreciation for their efforts on Tuesday evening.
"We thank you for respecting the privacy of D.J. and his family at this time. We look forward to supporting D.J. on his road to recovery," Levine added.
Fans wishing to send well-wishes to Hayden are encouraged to do so at http://www.facebook.com/houstonathletics or via e-mail at email@example.com.