Though he’s in critical condition, Christion Abercrombie — the Tennessee State linebacker who collapsed from a head injury during a game on Saturday — is responding to gospel music.
“I’m hopeful that tomorrow will get even better, and if it’s the same then we’ll go to the next day,” the football player’s mom Staci said in an interview with Today aired Thursday. “We know it’s a process, but we’re not rushing it.”
The 20-year-old athlete made national headlines when he fell while walking to the locker room during halftime of the game against Vanderbilt. He’d complained of a headache to coaches in the first half.
Abercrombie was rushed to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and underwent surgery for a head injury — but as of Thursday, it was still unclear exactly when he sustained it.
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“I can’t even play it back in my head because I didn’t see anything,” Staci told the morning show. “The Vandy coaches have reviewed the film, everyone has reviewed the film. No one can say, ‘Oh, it was that hit.’ All of them were clean, normal hits.”
Staci added that she “can’t say [Christion’s] doing great, but I’m still blessed and I feel like my son is blessed because he’s still here fighting.”
In fact, she said at a press conference on Wednesday that he’s strongest when he’s listening to music. “I asked one of his friends to download some music on the tablet for him,” the Atlanta native said, according to The Tennessean. “And we played it and he was listening to different music and he responded with raising his hand.”
Staci explained that “he loves music, he loves God, he loves ‘Let It Rain’ by Bishop Paul Morton, and I kept playing it and kept playing it and he would rub my nails as he heard different songs… Those are the positive signs we are seeing.”
As his mother, Staci’s especially confident in Abercrombie’s ability to fight because he was born prematurely, she shared at the press conference, the Associated Press reported. “Christion was born on July 4, 1998. I had him at 28 weeks. He came early. He fought, and he fought. He was in the hospital for five weeks. He was on a ventilator. He fought and he fought, and we see him today,” she said.
The AP reported that Abercrombie went into Saturday’s loss as the Tigers’ second-leading tackler, securing five tackles and a quarterback hurry before halftime. He was redshirted at Illinois State in 2016 and played there for two years before joining the Tigers ahead of this school year.