The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

January 3, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN - White’s injury hits much too close to home

MORGANTOWN — This was supposed to be a column about the changing of the seasons, not from fall to winter, although that change certainly has come on hard this week, but from football to basketball.

It was supposed to make the point that with Bob Huggins in town, the change is not quite so shocking as it used to be, for his warriors play as hard-nosed in underwear as any football team in the nation does in pads.

But as we were beginning to write the first sentence of that column we were distracted. The television across the room was tuned into the Pittsburgh Steelers game with the Miami Dolphins and we heard the play-by-play broadcaster say that Patrick White had taken off around end with the football.

This thought began creeping into the mind.

“How many times have I seen White …”

That’s when the hit came, a hit with more violence, more fury, more force and power than any blow Bob Huggins or Bill Stewart’s players ever could deliver. White had been tripped along the sideline and was going down as Steelers’ safety Ike Taylor, racing in at full speed, delivered a helmet-to-helmet shot that violently snapped White’s head to the side.

He was out cold before he hit the ground at the feet of Mike Tomlin, the Steelers’ coach.

The football trickled out of his now flaccid arms, rolling harmlessly away and he lay there, motionless.

Tomlin immediately signaled for medical help. Dolphin players, teammates of White who undoubtedly have taken to him just as did the entire state of West Virginia when he quarterbacked here for four years like no one before him ever had, gathered around.

The Steelers knelt in circle, praying on the field.

Too often they had seen such sights, a player laying unconscious from a blow to the head. At best he had suffered a concussion, although considering that he has a history of the same at West Virginia, that is not a minor problem.

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Bob Herzel
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