Bruised spine, concussion end season for Sickle; Lansdowne linebacker released from hospital


Lansdowne junior football player Steve Sickle suffered a bruised and swollen spinal cord, a severely broken thumb and a concussion after fainting and falling face-first on the ground in Friday's loss to Hereford.

Sickle, 15, said from his home last night that he was released from University Hospital after surgery to repair a broken thumb, and that he must return for a checkup Thursday to further examine his spinal cord injury.

Doctors said Sickle, a champion weightlifter and also a baseball player, "is done for the football season," he said.

"They said they can't really tell what's wrong because of the swelling around my neck, but I go back Thursday for X-rays on my neck and a CAT scan," said Sickle. "They had to put metal rods through my thumb and my hand."

Lansdowne athletic director Bob Newton said Sickle, a linebacker, was pulling to make a tackle near the end of the game when he suddenly collapsed.

Sickle was unconscious "for about two or three minutes," according to coach Ted Bell, and immobilized immediately by a trainer and paramedics on the scene, Newton said.

Sickle said he does not recall falling down or how he injured his thumb. "It happened so quickly. All I remember is waking up with people around me," he said.

Newton said Shock Trauma officials have deduced Sickle broke his thumb on an earlier play and "fainted," perhaps as a result of the pain, and suffered the concussion.

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