Lions' Mike Utley paralyzed, football career over
Nov. 17, 1991
The joy of Erik Kramer's touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter that gives the Detroit Lions a 14-10 lead is tempered by the sight of guard Mike Utley laying on the ground in the Silverdome. Utley can't move.
Utley is blocking the Los Angeles Rams' David Rocker when Rocker leaps to deflect Kramer's pass and comes down on Utley's head and neck. Unable to move his legs, he is down on the field for several minutes, moving only his arms, before he's taken to a hospital.
"When they carried him off on that stretcher," says Lions center Kevin Glover after Detroit's 21-10 victory, "I saw him move his hand. He gave me the thumbs up sign, like he wanted us to win. Can you imagine thinking about the team at a moment like that?"
Utley has a spinal injury that paralyzes his legs and ends his football career. He will launch the "Thumbs Up" campaign, a foundation for spinal-cord research.
ESPN TOP HEADLINES
- Kobe likely out six weeks with injured knee
- Rodgers has idea of status, but not saying
- Harbaugh: 'Absolutely' want to be with 49ers
- Sources: Rockets can't make Asik deal now