Houston Cougars defensive back D.J. Hayden is in stable, yet critical condition after colliding with a teammate in practice last Tuesday and tearing a vein.
Hayden, a senior, was rushed to the hospital after tearing his inferior vena cava, the large vein that carries de-oxygenated blood from the lower half of the body into the right atrium of the heart.
He immediately underwent surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.
Team physician Dr. Walter Lowe said this type of injury is typical of high speed car accidents, but has never been related to football before.
An injury of this degree has a fatality rate 95 percent of the time, for Hayden to recover will be nothing short of a miracle.
The school expects Hayden to be hospitalized for “a while” but said Hayden was alert and still recovering in ICU.
It also said Hayden was able to stand up for the first time since the injury.
Hayden currently leads the C-USA with four interceptions. He has two defensive touchdowns on the season, with a pick six in two consecutive games against the University of Texas at El Paso Miners and the East Carolina Pirates.
Houston is currently 4-6 (3-3 in the C-USA), ranked third in the C-USA West.
This is just a scary situation. It’s a freak accident.
It sure seems as though Hayden will miss at least the remainder of the season, and possibly much longer, but the important thing here is that he is ok and expected to make a full recovery.
I think the last thing on the Cougars’ minds is when he can get back on the field. I’m sure they are happy to know he is doing well.
Regardless, it is truly a remarkable feat that Hayden will walk away from this injury.