After five-hour back surgery, Ball State WR Love moving arms, legs

Updated: September 21, 2008, 2:14 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Ball State receiver Dante Love is moving his arms and legs after undergoing a five-hour surgical procedure to stabilize a back fracture, school officials said Sunday.

Love had surgery to stabilize a cervical spinal fracture and spinal cord injury after being injured early in the second quarter of Saturday night's 42-20 victory at Indiana.

"We were told the surgery went well," team physician Dr. Jay Matchett said in statement release by the school. "Sunday morning Dante was alert and extremely tired. His attitude and spirits are good, and we are praying for him right now."

Love, a senior, was hurt when Indiana cornerback Chris Adkins appeared to hit Love's helmet after Love made a short catch. The ball came loose and as Love fell to the ground, safety Nick Polk scooped up the fumble and ran 31 yards for a touchdown.

Within seconds, Love was surrounded by doctors and coaches, and within minutes his teammates had dropped to a knee in prayer. After about 15 minutes, Love was strapped to a backboard, and lifted on to a golf cart. Doctors also removed his face mask and many of his teammates ran to the cart, offering encouragement before doctors motioned them to move.

Love's parents ran behind the golf cart as it pulled off the field.

Love was taken to Bloomington Hospital, then transferred to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. The hospital said he had been admitted to the critical care unit but had no updated information on his condition Sunday afternoon.

The gravity of the injury was apparent in the postgame news conference when coach Brady Hoke made only an opening statement about the biggest win in school history -- Ball State's first against a BCS school -- before saying he had to leave for the hospital.

"I'm going to be real brief because, obviously, I want to go see how Dante Love is doing," Hoke said after the game. "I appreciate you're understanding, but I'm going to go and go to the hospital, thanks."

The school said Hoke spent the night at Methodist Hospital but issued no new statement from him.

Love entered the game as the nation's leader in yards receiving per game (144.3).

He had three catches for 27 yards Saturday and ranks second in school history in receptions (199), yards receiving (2,778) and is tied for fourth in TD receptions (20). Love also holds the Ball State record for kickoff return yards in a career (2,129) and is tied with Dante Ridgeway for the most 100-yard games in school history (11).


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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