Thanks to the quick-thinking work of Houston’s medical staff, D.J. Hayden survived an injury incurred in practice last week so severe — and normally associated with high-speed car accidents — that it’s 95-percent fatal.
Nearly a week later, the cornerback is well on the road to recovery.
The Cougars confirmed Monday via a press release that Hayden has been released from Memorial Hermann Hospital Texas Trauma Institute, where he had been hospitalized since suffering the injury last Tuesday. Hayden collided with a teammate during practice, resulting in the tearing of a major vein feeding the heart.
He underwent emergency surgery to repair the damage.
Specifically, the release read, Hayden suffered a tear in his inferior vena cava, the large vein that carries blood from the lower half of the body back to the heart. The fact that Hayden not only survived such a catastrophic injury but has exceeded expectations in his recovery has been a pleasant surprise to the physicians who have been treating the player.
“Looking at the whole course of events and the severity of the injury, D.J. has progressed remarkably well and is out a lot sooner than expected,” team physician Dr. Walter Lowe said. “He’s got a lot of healing left to do as the procedure to repair the inferior vena cava is much like a heart transplant.”
Lowe’s statement added that “[t]he sternum should take around three months to heal and D.J. is expected to be able to resume normal activities without contact in three-to-four months.”
There was no clear word on how the injury will or won’t impact his playing career.