Commentators immediately fell silent when Darrin Kitchens of the Florida Gators went down and laid motionless on the ground, Saturday. So did most of the crowd. The reason for his fall was a direct, helmet to helmet tackle during a kickoff return that literally slammed his body into the turf. The Florida State Seminoles went on to win, 21-7, in a contest that was mostly about defensive turnovers.
Throughout the game, there were flags after flags after flags. But the real news on the field, however, were the injuries. In particular, the Kitchens hit that left many wondering if he was going to show any signs of feeling below the neck. After nearly fifteen minutes in which the stretcher was eventually used to cart him off the field, Kitchens gave a thumbs up, drawing cheers from the crowd and relief from the viewers. He was released from the hospital on Sunday, with all tests showing up negative for any sustained neck injuries.
Still, commentators spent much of the Kitchens’ injury timeout discussing Florida legislation. Should there be severe consequences for anyone who drives their helmet into an opposing player? Should the senators and representatives even get involved? Well, whether things do or do not change, one thing is for sure, most have agreed that the Kitchens’ hit was completely legal. The fact that there was a helmet to helmet collision was somewhat accidental. Or so they say.
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