The scene at the stadium in South Carolina said it all. It was clear something sickening had happened. Opposing players and coaches gathered around Marcus Lattimore as he was carted off the field.
Lattimore was the star Running Back of the South Carolina Gamecocks. Just earlier this month more than 85,000 fans crammed into the Williams-Brice Stadium as they faced competitors the Georgia Bulldogs.
Lattimore was into his final year playing College Football. Just 21, he was preparing for a career in the NFL. He was hoping to be a first round pick in next year's NFL draft, emulating Trent Richardson and Doug Martin who have gone onto star as professional RBs this season.
He had already bounced back from one knee injury in 2010 which kept him out for six months.
Against Tennessee at the weekend, he suffered a devastating injury. He right knee was dislocated, he suffered severe ligament damage, and he is likely to need more than one year to rehabilitate it.
Yet there is no guarantee he will ever return as the same player, or have the same momentum. For there is no worse time for a College Footballer to suffer an injury, months ahead of the NFL draft, when he stands to sign a professional contract and net millions of dollars.
There is no guarantee that will ever happen for Lattimore. He has told his team that he will be back, and he will be given the utmost support to do so.
As well as trending worldwide on Twitter, he has received support messages from sports stars LeBron James and Tim Tebow, while in South Carolina more than 1,000 people turned out for a rally to wish him support on his 21st birthday yesterday, a day after he returned home from hospital.
There is hope for Lattimore. Players have bounced back from severe injuries in College Football to forge successful careers in the NFL. Denver Broncos Running Back Willis McGahee is a famous example.
On Sunday night McGahee's performance for the Broncos against the Saints, in which he rushed for an opening touchdown in a 34-14 win, will no doubt have inspired a watching Lattimore.
The road to recovery will be long, challenging, and may not even be possible, but Lattimore still has a chance. He won't be entering the NFL next year, but he can rebuild his career in with the Gamecocks and try to get back on track if his body allows it.
America and the world, will be wishing the unfortunate yet talented young man well.
Watch the injury below...
image: © arcticwhirlwind