Largo’s Taj Taylor suffered a grade 3 concussion and traumatic brain injury after being knocked unconscious in Friday night’s game against Dunedin.
The injury happened in the third quarter. Taylor came in low and from the side to make a tackle when he was struck in the head by the knee of a Falcons running back. Taylor fell to the ground like a rag doll, utterly inert. He laid face down and was motionless. He was unresponsive for nearly 10 minutes.
Those on the sideline felt a cold wave of panic.
“I’ve not seen a hit like that one in 37 years of coaching,” Packers coach Rick Rodriguez said. “At first, you’re thinking of the worst because you see a kid not moving and hope it’s not any kind of paralysis. The good thing was he started to breathe, and was able to eventually move.”
Both teams agreed to end the game. The paramedics were called (none are at high school football games because of budget cuts a few years ago). Taylor was rushed to St. Joseph’s Trauma Center in Tampa, where he was diagnosed with a severe concussion, which will most likely sideline him for at least a month.
“I’m just glad to be alive and not paralyzed,” Taylor said via Twitter.