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Holtz grateful Mitchell’s injury not as severe as appeared

Posted Sep 25, 2011 by Adam Adkins

Updated Sep 25, 2011 at 12:32 AM

The story from correspondent Michael Manganello:

USF was dealt a scary situation early in the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s 52-24 win over UTEP as punt returner Terrence Mitchell was carted off the field on a stretcher.

Facing a 4th-and-6 from its own 24-yard line, UTEP ran a fake punt with Miners punter Ian Campbell rushing to the left side of the field for 19 yards. It was Mitchell that came up to make the stop just in front of the USF bench, diving into Campbell and colliding in the shoulder/neck area.

It appeared that Mitchell’s body went mostly rigid as Mitchell landed and lay still on the field. The Bulls circled around Mitchell and the medical staff, who was eventually loaded onto a stretcher and carted off the field.

In his post-game press conference, USF head coach Skip Holtz said that Mitchell, who was taken to a local hospital as a precautionary measure, was communicating with medical staff and had movement in all his extremities. He was undergoing further tests with a feared concussion.

“They told us in the locker room that he is communicating, he is verbal, he is moving everything,” Holtz said. “It is not his neck. They’re worried about a concussion, there’s obviously a lot of preventative tests that they need to go but we’re very grateful that the injury is not as severe as it appeared that it was on the field.”

Mitchell suffered a concussion as a junior at Hillsborough High School in October of 2008, colliding with a teammate while trying to break-up a pass. He missed the next two games of that season.

“It was a bad incident, but I got over it,” Mitchell told the Tribune in a story on concussions that ran in January of this year. “It hasn’t changed the way I am as a player. You can’t play football scared. I play every down hard and rough.”

As Mitchell was being tended to on the field, UTEP head coach Mike Price crossed the field to check on his condition with USF quarterback B.J. Daniels.

“He was just asking, ‘Was he moving, was he OK?’,” Daniels said. “We definitely appreciate the concern from the opposing team in a hostile situation like a football game. (It’s) very (scary). It really is. We were just praying for him, we did on the field.”

Though USF hasn’t had many serious on-field injuries in recent years, Holtz says it’s always scary to watch a player go down like Mitchell did.

“It’s never easy to go through something like that,” Holtz said. “It’s scary. You have such a relationship with the young man. It’s not the football player, it’s the young man that you see laying there injured.”

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