An MTSU football player said his life "flashed before his eyes" when he fell to the field on Saturday while making a tackle.
Junior linebacker Craig Allen injured his neck while tackling a player from Troy University.
After he went down, he said he couldn't get up and he was scared he'd never walk again.
Allen had surgery on Sunday to remove a herniated disc in his neck.
"I attempted to get up, but there was nothing moving," said Allen from his hospital bed. "It felt like my arms and feet were off the ground, but they were just laying there."
Allen went in for a tackle and several of his teammates piled on top of him. They got up, but Allen did not. MTSU's top tackler began to wonder if he'll ever play football or even walk again.
For about 15 minutes, Allen laid on the field while medical personnel worked. Danielle Allen, his mother, teammates and Troy players gathered around him and prayed.
"The stadium was so quiet you could hear a pin drop," said Danielle Allen.
At the hospital, doctors told Craig Allen he'd have a 50/50 chance of getting back to normal. An MRI showed he had two herniated discs in his neck.
Craig Allen's recovery has surprised even his nurses. Just seven hours after surgery, he stood up and, with some help, took his first couple of steps since the accident.
Craig Allen's goal was to make 100 tackles this season. The injury occurred on his 82nd.
"I don't think it will take away from me hitting or playing as hard as I have always played," said Craig Allen.
Now Craig Allen has a new goal - work hard and heal to get back on the field for his senior season.
MTSU coach Rick Stockstill said the team is grateful the injury was not any worse.
"Keep Craig in your thoughts and prayers," Stockstill said. "Football is a violent game. You hate to see it, but my prayers are with him now."
Craig Allen was admitted into Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Saturday night. A native of Carrollton, GA, Craig Allen leads the Blue Raiders with a career-best 82 tackles this season.
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