A scary moment ensued on Saturday afternoon during a Big Ten matchup between the Northwestern Wildcats and Iowa Hawkeyes.
During a Northwestern kickoff to Hawkeyes’ return man Desmond King, Wildcats’ linebacker Brett Walsh was badly injured on the special teams play and was down for an extended period of time. Both head coaches Pat Fitzgerald and Kirk Ferentz shared a moment amid the injury, and Walsh, who was carried off in a stretcher after the medical staff stripped him of his shoulder pads, gave the crowd the thumbs up a couple of times before being carted off.
It was later reported that he was conscious and had movement in his extremities.
The 6-1, 225-pound linebacker, who hails from Monrovia, California, did not see any action as a redshirt sophomore in 2015. The season prior, Walsh appeared in five games for the Wildcats and chipped in with three tackles as both a defender and special teams player. He took the 2013 season as a redshirt year.
Walsh played his high school ball at Monrovia, where he participated at the varsity level for three seasons. Over the course of his prep ball, he compiled 417 tackles, 11 sacks, three interceptions and eight forced fumbles. He averaged a staggering 25.3 tackles per game over his final season at Monrovia.
Rated as three-star product out of high school, Walsh also fielded offers from Fresno State, UNLV and Nevada prior to settling on Northwestern.
Whether the loss of Walsh was a motivating factor for the Wildcats or not, the offense responded on their next drive with a long touchdown run by Justin Jackson, who gave Northwestern a seven-point lead late in the third.