Buccaneers receiver Russell Gage hospitalized but avoids major injury following neck-snapping hit in Monday playoff game

Just two weeks removed from the frightening on-field cardiac arrest and resuscitation of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, the National Football League’s playoff game on Monday night was temporarily delayed due to another scary injury.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage Jr. was removed from the field on a stretcher and transported to a hospital after he was unable to get up following a hard hit to the back of his head and neck, the Western Journal reported.

However, unlike in the Hamlin situation two weeks prior, play between the Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys resumed shortly after Gage was taken off the field, and subsequent reports revealed that he had suffered no major injuries aside from a concussion.

Brutal hit leaves player down

The fourth-quarter incident during the Buccaneers-Cowboys wild-card playoff game Monday night began as Gage ran his route but stumbled as he made the cut to cross the middle of the field, which resulted in him missing the pass thrown by quarterback Tom Brady as a Cowboys defensive back hit him from behind and pushed his head and neck forward in a snapping motion.

Gage attempted to get up following that hit but was clearly unable to do so and momentarily appeared to be uncontrollably flailing his limbs in a futile effort. Other players from both teams showed signs of concern and many took a knee in prayer as medical personnel and team trainers swiftly worked on Gage.

The other players continued to look on with worry as Gage was eventually removed from the field while immobilized on a stretcher and then transported to the hospital amid fears that he had potentially suffered a major life-altering neck injury.

Held overnight for observation and testing

Thankfully, as it turned out, Gage managed to avoid the worst outcome in that head and neck-snapping hit, according to an update from the Buccaneers Tuesday morning.

“After suffering a neck injury and concussion during the fourth quarter of last night’s game, Russell was taken to a local hospital where he remained overnight for additional testing and observation,” the team said in a statement. “Russell has had movement in all extremities and will continue to undergo additional testing today. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.”

Just a concussion

To be sure, that statement in the morning, while promising, still seemed to indicate that Gage had potentially suffered a significant neck injury, but that was revealed to not be the case based on comments from head coach Todd Bowles during a press conference later in the day.

Asked about Gage, Bowles said, “Yeah, he just has a concussion. He should be released this afternoon. His neck is fine and right now he has all of his extremities moving.”

The lack of any major injury was seemingly confirmed by Gage himself in a Tuesday afternoon tweet, in which he wrote, “I appreciate all of the texts, calls, thoughts and prayers you all have expressed towards my family and I. I just wanted to let you all know that I’m doing great and in great spirits! Thank you!”

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