MIAMI — In the flash of a single play, nearly everyone in the newly christened FIU Stadium fell silent. After colliding with a teammate, senior linebacker Brouce Mompremier lay motionless on the field.
He was loaded into an ambulance and then transported by helicopter to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Trauma Center. He cleared a CT Scan and an MRI on his neck and was released from the hospital Sunday, according to USF Athletics. He is scheduled to undergo further testing by the USF medical staff when he returns to Tampa.
Mompremier has been ruled out for the Bulls’ next two games, and his status for the rest of the season is unknown.
This news was encouraging to the team, especially after what USF defensive coordinator Wally Burnham called a very scary moment.
“He wasn’t moving for a few minutes,” he said. “That’s one of those moments that makes you wonder if all this is worth it.”
With 6:43 remaining in the third quarter, Mompremier — a Miami native — and senior safety Carlton Williams converged on a wide receiver.
Mompremier went low. Williams went high. The receiver — FIU sophomore Jason Frierson — moved out of the way. Mompremier’s head hit Williams on the hip.
Both players were downed. Williams was assisted off the field, but was unaware of the injury to Mompremier.
“I knew it was him that hit me, but I didn’t know he was still down,” Williams said. “I was walking off the field yelling about how he hit me in my hip, and I looked back and he was still down. That was a very emotional situation because that’s your teammate.”
Senior linebacker Tyrone McKenzie said his eyes watered when he saw Mompremier.
“He taught me a lot during my first year here,” McKenzie said. “We just wanted to go out there and finish the game for him.”
“When something like that happens, you realize in a hurry that this is just a game,” Burnham said. “That’s a human being out there, and you just hope and pray that he’s going to be all right.”
Senior defensive end Jarriett Buie was the player closest to Mompremier as he was being attended to on the field.
“That was hard, man. It was tough to see one of your brothers down like that,” Buie said. “All I could think was to go out there and do what he always said: ‘Give every breath.'”
Everyone in the stadium remained in a hushed silence as the ambulance came on the field. Senior safety Danny Verpaele said that moment made him realize how quickly football could be taken from him.
“A play like that brings you back to reality,” he said. “On any play, anyone can get hurt and we had to try and go out there and play hard for him.”
Mompremier was attended to on the field for nearly 15 minutes. Just before he was loaded into the ambulance, there was a sign from both teams that showed the battle on the football field wasn’t as important as a person’s well -being.
As he was put on the stretcher, both teams walked to midfield and each player took a knee. As a group, they led the stadium in a moment of silence for Mompremier.
“Their head coach (Mario Cristobal) said ‘Let’s say a prayer,’ and I thought that was a great suggestion on his part,” USF coach Jim Leavitt said.
Burnham said losing Mompremier as a player would be tough, but losing him as a person would be tougher.
“He was our leader, no doubt,” he said. “He means so much to the players. When something like this happens, it makes you question whether or not this is worth it. That was a young man out there. You just hope that God takes care of him.”