Arena Football player dies of presumed spinal cord injury

MacNut

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Arena Football player dies of presumed spinal cord injury in California
By ANDREW DALTON, AP Sports


LOS ANGELES (AP) - Arena Football League teammates of Al Lucas stood stunned as the 300-pound lineman they called "Big Luke" was carried motionless on a stretcher off the Staples Center floor.

Lucas, 26, a former player with the NFL's Carolina Panthers, died Sunday from a presumed spinal cord injury sustained while trying to make a tackle for the Los Angeles Avengers, the team said.

"There's nothing you can say about what happened," Avengers lineman Sean McNamara said. "It never entered our minds as a possibility."

Players prayed on the sidelines and about 11,000 people watched from the stands as Lucas was carried from the field. He was pronounced dead at California Hospital, team physician Dr. Luga Podesta said in a statement. An autopsy was planned for Monday or Tuesday.

The game continued, and players were told of his fate in the locker room after the game. Los Angeles beat New York 66-35.

``When you've got a player lying on the ground, the only thing that goes through your mind is that it could be any of us out there. Al was a great teammate,'' Avengers fullback Lonnie Ford told the Daily News of Los Angeles.

``I just wish this was a bad dream,'' receiver Tony Locke told the Los Angeles Times.

Lucas was injured during a first-quarter kickoff return against the New York Dragons.

Television replays showed him bending down to make a tackle. As the Dragons' ball carrier and a blocker tumbled over his head and back, the blocker's leg appeared to hit Lucas in the head. Lucas did not move after falling to the ground.

Lucas was married to De'Shonda Lucas and had a daughter, Mariah.

He was well-known in Macon, Ga., where he was born and lived. His father is state Rep. David Lucas, and his mother Elaine is on the Macon City Council. His younger brother, Lenny, plays for the Macon Knights in Arena Football's minor league.

``He grew up in an athletically and politically based childhood,'' Steve Edwards, Lucas's former coach at Macon's Northeast High School, told the Macon Telegraph. ``He was a super person and a super athlete.''

Lucas attended Troy State University in Alabama, where he played from 1996 to 1999. He was named the top defensive player in NCAA Division I-AA his senior season. He played two seasons for the Carolina Panthers in 2000 and 2001, recording 49 1/2 tackles in 20 games.
 

stubeeef

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Aug 10, 2004
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MacNut said:
Arena Football player dies of presumed spinal cord injury in California
By ANDREW DALTON, AP Sports


LOS ANGELES (AP) - Arena Football League teammates of Al Lucas stood stunned as the 300-pound lineman they called "Big Luke" was carried motionless on a stretcher off the Staples Center floor.

Lucas, 26, a former player with the NFL's Carolina Panthers, died Sunday from a presumed spinal cord injury sustained while trying to make a tackle for the Los Angeles Avengers, the team said.

"There's nothing you can say about what happened," Avengers lineman Sean McNamara said. "It never entered our minds as a possibility."

Players prayed on the sidelines and about 11,000 people watched from the stands as Lucas was carried from the field. He was pronounced dead at California Hospital, team physician Dr. Luga Podesta said in a statement. An autopsy was planned for Monday or Tuesday.

The game continued, and players were told of his fate in the locker room after the game. Los Angeles beat New York 66-35.

That is so sad!
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
I was shocked when I read this. I've been at several football games where a player has gone down and the cart has come onto the field. There's always that feeling of dread until you see the legs/arms move and relax a little. I saw Bryant Young's horrible leg injury in 98 and Ty Detmer's dislocated elbow amongst others. Thankfully both of those players were able to resume their careers.

Unfortunately on this occasion, the outcome was the worst possible for his family, friends and teammates. My sympathies, for what they're worth, to all of them.
 

iGav

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Mar 9, 2002
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Applespider said:
I saw Bryant Young's horrible leg injury in 98 and Ty Detmer's dislocated elbow amongst others. Thankfully both of those players were able to resume their careers.
Tell me about... I was at the Coventry City Vs Man Utd match back in '96 when David Busst's leg snapped clean in two.
 

evoluzione

macrumors 68020
iGav said:
Tell me about... I was at the Coventry City Vs Man Utd match back in '96 when David Busst's leg snapped clean in two.
ouch, i remember that one, very appropriate name too, unfortunately. most recently though is Djibril Cisse's double break, caused by him running too hard i think (the pic below shows a tackle after the break, from what i remember)?? i could not believe the commentators in that game, they completely missed what happened until they saw the slo-mo's. horrific. although, he may well be back for the Juve game tomorrow! he broke it last October, and thought he may lose the leg it was so bad. (at Blackburn no less, where two players broke their leg's last year :eek: )

break


still, it's terrible what happened in the arena game. i guess a lot of (American) football, and rugy players get compressed spine problems?
 

jemeinc

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Feb 14, 2004
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Applespider said:
I saw Bryant Young's horrible leg injury in 98 and Ty Detmer's dislocated elbow amongst others. Thankfully both of those players were able to resume their careers.

Actually, the dislocated elbow happened to KOY Detmer, Ty's younger brother, but you're right that was ugly, while not exactly a "serious" injury it sure is a painful one.

The problem with American Football right now is tackling. It's the most dangerous part of the game, and guys, particularily the pros. all lower their heads at impact. These guys all want to turn themselves into human missles. As someone very involved in American Football from the youth level through the High School level, breaking this habit is something we battle DAILY. The kids see the pro's do it and want to emulate it. The NFL, and Arena Leagues are the worst tacklers in the game, in terms of technique and safety. It's a shame. I hope something good can come of this, because without a change in their tackling styles at the highest levels, this won't be the last tradegy for this great game.
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
jemeinc said:
Actually, the dislocated elbow happened to KOY Detmer, Ty's younger brother, but you're right that was ugly, while not exactly a "serious" injury it sure is a painful one.
Doh... I think I was embarrassed enough as a Niners fan that either Detmer could come in and thump the Niners on MNF that I forgot it all. The only bit I can't forget is the way his legs jerked on the ground in agony ... emblazoned across my mind.
 

Mr. Durden

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Jan 13, 2005
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Abstract said:
I hate how they put the score in at the end of that article. :rolleyes:
Agreed. That single sentence trivialized this mans death. Although, I'm sure it wasnt done on purpose, its seems like an editor or somebody would have said to leave that out.
 

MacNut

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Agreed. That single sentence trivialized this mans death. Although, I'm sure it wasnt done on purpose, its seems like an editor or somebody would have said to leave that out.
I just reposted the full article. (at the top)
 

MacNut

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LOS ANGELES (April 12) - The coroner has to wait for test results on the brain tissue of Arena Football League lineman Al Lucas before determining why he died during play last weekend.

Though the team said Lucas died of a "presumed spinal cord injury," coroner's office spokesman Craig Harvey said Tuesday that tests of the brain tissue were ordered to help with his diagnosis.

"Until those studies are back, the cause of death has not been finalized," Harvey said.

Lucas failed to get up after a tackle during Sunday's game against the New York Dragons. The 26-year-old Lucas was pronounced dead at California Medical Center Hospital a short time later.
 

wdlove

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Oct 20, 2002
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My prayers are with his family and friends. It just goes to show how fragile life each of us have. Sounds as though he really never knew what hit him. Will be interested to learn the autopsy results. May he rest in peace.
 

mpw

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Jun 18, 2004
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jemeinc said:
...The problem with American Football right now is tackling. It's the most dangerous part of the game, and guys, particularily the pros. all lower their heads at impact. These guys all want to turn themselves into human missles. .... without a change in their tackling styles at the highest levels, this won't be the last tradegy for this great game.
Obviously I feel sorry for his and his family's loss.

I'm not a big fan but when I do watch either American or Rugby Football I'm constantly amazed that there aren't more fatalities considering some of the impacts.

I played Rugby football at school and took a couple of big hits but never had more than a broken finger, looking back what really makes me cringe are some of the hits I gave other people. I was always one of the largest couple of guys on the field and at our school if it was Rugby season you played, no one got to choose to sit it out. I vividly remember the first inter-house rugby match I played in at about 15years old. The opposing team kicked off and I caught the ball and started a run down the field. I had a good steam up and was only faced with one guy to get around. I knew the guy and knew he had no interest in rugby so thought this would be an easy brush past. Unfortunately he had so little interest in being their he hadn't even bothered to learn the rules and as we reached each other and I prepared to weave past him he simple punched me full in the face as we sprinted toward each other.

Now as you can imagine I got up none to pleased and started to communicate my displeasure to him quite vocally which got me kicked off the field while he was allowed to play on as his was an innocent error!

I knocked him to the floor back in the locker room.
 

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