The father of Pitt quarterback Bill Stull proclaimed his son “absolutely fine” after suffering a neck injury against Rutgers Saturday that caused him to be taken off the field on a stretcher.
“He’s a little sore today, but he’s good to go,” Bill Stull Sr. said. “It’s nothing like it could have been or what we thought it was.”
Stull, a redshirt junior who passed for a career-high 279 yards, was knocked unconscious with five minutes, 59 seconds remaining in the third quarter of Pitt’s 54-34 loss to the Scarlet Knights at Heinz Field.
Stull was hit while attempting a pass and collided with tailback LeSean McCoy. Stull was falling backward, only to have his head snap forward.
It appeared serious at first, as Stull lay motionless on the field.
“Any time you see your son on the field unconscious,” Stull Sr. said, “it puts things in perspective.”
Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said tests on Stull were negative, but he spent the night under observation at UPMC Presbyterian as a precaution. Stull Sr. said Pitt chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg visited Stull’s room this morning.
Stull, who sustained a concussion and stinger, will undergo more evaluations this week to determine whether he can play when Pitt (5-2) visits Notre Dame (5-2) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in South Bend, Ind.
“We are incredibly relieved and grateful that Billy is OK and out of the hospital,” Wannstedt said in a statement.
Stull Sr. praised university officials for their handling of the situation.
“Everybody at Pitt was high-class, from the chancellor on down,” Stull Sr. said, “especially the medical staff.”
More tests, likely to be taken today, will determine whether Stull can return to play Saturday when Pitt (5-2) visits Notre Dame (5-2).
Stull Sr. also found it particularly moving that both teams took a knee while Stull was attended to by Pitt’s medical staff, and said he already wrote a letter of appreciation to Rutgers athletic director Robert Mulcahy.
“That was a class act,” Stull Sr. said. “When you get down on your knees and pray for somebody … that could have been anybody.”
The elder Stull said his son had regained consciousness by the time he reached the field. Stull Sr. said his son squeezed his hand and shed a tear, knowing that he couldn’t return to play in the eventual defeat.
“He was disappointed that he couldn’t play,” Stull Sr. said, “because he believed they could have come back and won.”