Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette signals to fans as he is taken off the field on a stretcher after receiving a blindside hit from Cowboys safety Jeff Heath at AT&T Stadium on November 1, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo
SEATTLE, March 8 (UPI) -- Knees touched turf and heads bowed, as exhilaration transformed to contrition in seconds following Ricardo Lockette's November hit in Dallas.
Now the Seattle Seahawks wide receiver is speaking out about how he could have died on the field, without the assistance of trainers.
"I didn't really realize how serious it was until it was over," Lockette told a group of firefighters and paramedics during a visit Friday to Redmond, Wash. "The doctor told me... all the muscles, all the ligaments that connect my vertebrae, and the cartilage between that... the cartilage is out, ligaments are torn. He said if I would have stood up then, the weight of my head — left, right, front, back — I would have died. If one of my teammates would have came over and pulled my arm, just barely, I might have died. Or if the returner had broken a couple tackles and fell on me, I would have died on that field."
"But what saved my life were the trainers, and the work that you guys do. The trainers came over, and they said they did it perfectly. Perfectly, by the book."
The hit took place after a hit during a punt return, delivered by the Cowboys' Jeff Heath.
After the game, Lockette had surgery at Baylor University Medical Center to stabilize ligament damage in his neck. He also had a concussion and a disk injury, forcing him to miss the 2015 season. He returned to CenturyLink Field just two weeks later.
The Seahawks won the Nov. 1 contest 13-12.
Lockette, 29, has 22 receptions for 451 yards and four touchdowns in 34 career games. He won a Super Bowl in 2013 with the Seahawks.
Lockette is an unrestricted free agent this season, after signing a $660,000 tender to play in 2015.