I don’t think anyone knew when it happened the severity of (the injury). It was just move the drill and keep going. It wasn’t until (Tuesday) night that they realized it was pretty significant. —Bronco Mendenhall
PROVO — After BYU sophomore outside linebacker Colby Jorgensen collided with an offensive player during practice Tuesday morning, he fell to the turf awkwardly.
Jorgensen lay motionless on the turf for about 20 minutes as trainers and medical personnel attended to him. The team continued to practice while Jorgensen was carted off the field, loaded onto an ambulance and taken to a local hospital.
“I don’t think anyone knew when it happened the severity of (the injury),” said coach Bronco Mendenhall. “It was just move the drill and keep going. It wasn’t until (Tuesday) night that they realized it was pretty significant.”
What the team learned was that Jorgensen had suffered a fractured neck — officially termed as a fracture-dislocation of the cervical spine. Surgeons inserted two rods in the front and back of Jorgensen’s neck. The surgery was successful, according to BYU officials.
Jorgensen will be sidelined for this season and is facing a six-month recovery process.
Seeing a player seriously injured takes a toll on everyone, Mendenhall said.
“It’s really hard. That, of the 10 or 11 years in this position, I’m much more sensitive to that than I ever was. It’s really hard on me, it’s hard on the staff and hard on the team and families.”
Jorgensen, a Timpview High product, was converted from tight end to outside linebacker during the spring. He drew high praise from outside linebackers coach Kelly Poppinga Monday for his play during fall camp.
The 6-foot-7, 230-pound Jorgensen got married about a week before fall camp opened.
Linebacker Fred Warner said members of the team were planning to visit Jorgensen Wednesday night at the hospital.
“It hurts a lot,” Warner said of Jorgensen’s injury. “Colby’s a big guy for our team. He was moving his way up the depth chart and to see that happen to the guy, especially a neck injury, where it could have been worse than it was, it hurts. It’s hard to see. But the next guy has to step up.”
As bad as they feel for Jorgensen, the players know they must continue preparing for the upcoming season, Warner said.
“Watching the film (of the play of Jorgensen being injured), there’s a feeling in your stomach that’s not good, but you can never slow down. Never. Especially with the way we’re going right now. We’re taking steps forward and the type of season we’re supposed to have, we’ve got to keep moving forward.”
Quarterback Taysom Hill agreed.
“As a football player, you know that these things happen. You don’t wish that upon anybody,” he said. “We were all really bummed to see Colby go down that way. We’ll certainly send our best wishes and do everything we can to help him that way. Again, we have a season to prepare for and we’ll continue to move forward and look to the future.”