When Buffalo Bills cornerback Dane Jackson was involved in a scary collision with teammate Tremaine Edmunds during Monday night’s game against the Tennessee Titans, the worst potential medical outcome was feared. Jackson’s neck was immobilized by medical staff, and he was taken off the field in an ambulance to a local hospital.
Tuesday morning, the Bills announced that Jackson avoided a serious injury, which was determined after he “underwent various tests which determined there was no major injury to his neck or spinal cord. He was released from the hospital and is undergoing further evaluation today.”
That examination included a CT scan and an X-ray, the Bills announced Monday night. “Dane Jackson has full movement in his extremities, which is good, but we are still awaiting more updates. I was able to see him in the ambulance at halftime and we are all sending our prayers to him.”
What happened to Dane Jackson?
Dr. David Chao of Sports Injury Central (www.sicscore.com) analyzed the injury suffered by Jackson during a tackle of Titans wide receiver Treylon Burks from his expertise gained during nearly two decades as a team doctor for the former San Diego Chargers.
“Based on our analysis of video during the game, we expected it to look a lot worse than it turned out to be,” Chao said in a telephone interview with Pro Football Network. “We didn’t feel like there was risk for permanent nerve or spinal cord injury. The mechanism just didn’t fit. Part of what made it look worse than it was is that the helmet was raised off his head on the collision and pushed it back further than his head and neck actually were. Now it’s been confirmed by the Bills that he walked out of the hospital.
“Don’t be surprised if we see him diagnosed with a spinous process fracture (clay shoveler’s fracture, avulsion-type fracture in lower cervical or upper thoracic spine, treatment usually rest and pain control as injuries are mechanically stable, per medical journals).”
Chao predicted that Jackson could be medically cleared to play again as soon as this season, barring complications.
“Thankfully, this type of neck fracture, if true, wouldn’t require surgery, and in fact, he could still return this season for the Bills,” Chao said. “He can be part of their potential Super Bowl run. Medically, we anticipate he will be cleared to return to play for the Bills this season. He has avoided catastrophe. That’s what everyone was worried about. This wasn’t a Ryan Shazier type of injury.”
Shazier is a retired former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker who suffered a spinal contusion and underwent surgery in 2017. The former Pro Bowl linebacker was initially expected to be a paraplegic, but he recovered from the surgery and was able to walk and run again. He retired in 2020.
Playing football again would be incredible for Jackson, especially given how devastating a hit he absorbed and how much concern was raised about him when he was down on the ground after one of the scariest situations in the NFL in recent years.