Doctors: Collier paralyzed below waist, one leg had to be amputated

Updated: September 30, 2008, 9:13 AM ET
Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Richard Collier, shot while sitting in a car outside an apartment complex earlier this month, is paralyzed below the waist and his left leg was amputated, his doctor said Monday.

Collier was on a ventilator for about three weeks and has no memory of the shooting, said Dr. Andy Kerwin, a surgeon for the University of Florida at Shands Jacksonville hospital.

"His overall condition has improved greatly," Kerwin said. "We expect him to be discharged soon."

Kerwin said Collier suffered 14 bullet wounds to the back, left groin, left legs and right buttock. In addition, a bullet severed his spinal cord, causing the paralysis. The amputation was the result of damage to his left leg and groin, where blood clots formed. Five bullets alone were removed from his urinary bladder and the 26-year-old player also had bouts of pneumonia, infections and renal failure.

Richard Collier

Collier

Still, his condition has been upgraded to good from critical.

Collier will undergo physical therapy to learn how to move from his bed to a wheelchair. He will never walk again, the doctor said.

Collier's agent Jeff Jankovich said the player's family wanted to make sure Collier understood what had happened to him before releasing details to the public. He said they even kept the Jaguars in the dark.

"He has extreme grief for a lifetime of dreams he won't be able to fulfill," the agent said.

Jankovich refused to say specifically when Collier would be released, citing security concerns.

Collier and former teammate Kenneth Pettway were waiting for two women outside an apartment complex early Sept. 2 when a gunman fired into the vehicle, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Pettway was not injured.

The motive behind the attack on Collier is unknown, but investigators said earlier he appeared to be targeted. Police have made no arrests in the shooting.

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio and several players attended the news conference.

"It's a tragedy this young man was caught up in this violence," Del Rio said. "It's a great tragedy for a young man who had such a promising future."

Offensive tackle Tony Pashos said the attack on Collier has been difficult for his teammates. "I think about him a lot," he said.

Collier was in his third year with the NFL after graduating from Valdosta State.

He was the third NFL player shot in the past 18 months. Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor was fatally shot during what police said was a botched burglary attempt at his Miami-area home in November. Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was killed when his rented limousine was sprayed with bullets minutes after leaving a New Year's party at a club in 2007.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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