The final play of Ricardo Lockette’s NFL career ended with him getting hit in such a way that he suffered a horrible neck injury. It happened during Seattle’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, and Lockette – who went from an undrafted free agent in 2011 to a Super Bowl champion with the Seahawks – would never fully recover enough to play football, and retired back in May.
It was horrifying to watch, because even though Lockette was able to raise his arm as he got stretchered off the field, he was rendered motionless on the field after basically taking a shoulder pad to the face mask. As it turns out, it was even scarier than anyone thought. In a post for The Players’ Tribune, Lockette explained what happened, the fear that rushed over him in that moment, and what it was like to see his daughter while he was in the hospital. The whole thing is worth a read because it’s outstanding, and that’s not just because it features a hilarious section about Marshawn Lynch, but because Lockette says stuff like this:
When I was laid up in the hospital bed with a big neck brace on, my daughter was outside in the lobby begging to see me. I was still in my navy blue Seahawks pants and my bright green cleats. I just didn’t want her to see her daddy like that. I always tell her, “Your daddy is a rock star. He can do anything.” Because I want her to believe that she can do anything.
It took me a good hour to compose myself before I told the nurse to let her in the room. That was more painful than the actual hit. That was the worst 60 minutes of my life. I wiped the tears out of my eyes and went into Daddy Mode.
But when she came in, oh man. That’s everything in the world. That’s why you keep fighting.
I told her, “Don’t worry, babe. It’s not that bad. They’re going to put a little wrap on my neck and I’ll be fine.”