Harvard freshman who was injured in football opener has neck surgery

Harvard cornerback Ben Abercrombie, who suffered a cervical injury in the second quarter of Saturday’s season-opening loss at Rhode Island, underwent surgery on his neck over the weekend.

Abercrombie’s baseball coach at Hoover (Ala.) High School, Adam Moseley, tweeted updates about the freshman’s status late Sunday night.

“The doctor indicated that the neck vertebrae surgery was a success and Marty [Abercrombie’s father] was very encouraged by the before and after surgery pictures,” Moseley posted. “The spinal cord is intact.


“The doctor is now waiting for the neck swelling and pressure and trauma to subside in order that Ben can regain feeling in his arms and legs. The doctor is hopeful that this will happen over the next several days.”

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Moseley received the information from Chris Cole, a family friend of the Abercrombies. He added that early estimates of the recovery time range from six to nine months.

On Monday afternoon, Moseley tweeted that doctors hope by the end of the week that Abercrombie will no longer need breathing assistance.

The injury occurred early in the second quarter, when Abercrombie raced to the sideline and knocked Rams wideout Marven Beauvais out of bounds near midfield before dropping to the turf. He did not appear to move as trainers tended to him.

He remained on the ground for six minutes before he was wheeled off the field on a stretcher.


Harvard coach Tim Murphy and director of athletics Bob Scalise co-wrote an e-mail confirming the surgery that was distributed to student-athletes Monday afternoon.

“Our hearts go out to Ben and his family right now, and they have our full support,” the e-mail said. “We are doing all that we can in aiding in his recovery, and he has received tremendous care from the doctors at the hospital. I ask that you keep Ben and his family in your thoughts and prayers as he begins his recovery process.”