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College football player breaks neck, has feeling in extremities

By the CNN Wire Staff
October 22, 2011 -- Updated 2111 GMT (0511 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • University of Louisville player breaks neck
  • Anthony Conner has feeling in his extremities
  • He was injured while making a tackle during Friday's game against Rutgers
  • A Rutgers player was paralyzed last year

(CNN) -- A University of Louisville football player who suffered a broken neck while making a tackle showed no signs of paralysis hours later, team officials said Saturday.

Cornerback Anthony Conner suffered the injury during a collision with Rutgers University receiver Mohamed Sanu in the second quarter of Friday night's game in Louisville, Kentucky.

"Our doctors are still evaluating Anthony Conner's medical condition this morning (Saturday) and he is still undergoing additional tests," Louisville head coach Charlie Strong said in a statement. "As we said yesterday, there is no paralysis and Anthony has feeling throughout his extremities. We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers for Anthony and his family during this difficult time."

Conner is a senior from Houston. A knee injury forced him to miss the 2010 season, according to his official bio.

"Just on the field, he was talking, and squeezing his hand, that was it," Strong said, according to the team's website. A cart carried Conner off the field.

The athlete's teammates did not know the severity of the injury until after the game, when the coach told them in the locker room, Strong said.

Strong thanked the Rutgers team "for their display of class and compassion for Anthony during the game last night. The Rutgers football family went through something very similar almost a year ago and they know the severity of the situation."

Last October, Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand was left paralyzed from his neck down after he made a tackle in a game against Army.

LeGrand is back in school, can stand with assistance and is making progress in his bid to walk again, Sports Illustrated writer Jon Wertheim, who spent time with him, recently told CNN's Don Lemon.

"He is realistic, but optimistic," Wertheim said of LeGrand. "He still feels like he's part of the team. He obviously hasn't walked, but made strides and gotten some progress, and he's just such an outgoing, magnetic guy."

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