TAMPA - Two days after Tennessee Tech lost to USF, the Golden Eagles' hopes and prayers remained focused on a room in the intensive-care unit at St. Joseph's Hospital, where receiver Drew Hixon, injured in Saturday's game, remained in critical condition in a medically induced coma.
"The uncertainty of the situation is a concern, and we all hope and pray for the best," Golden Eagles coach Mike Hennigan said in a statement. "Right now, all of our thoughts and prayers are with Drew."
Tests revealed Hixon's injury involved his brain and was "serious," according to TTU, but school officials would not elaborate on the nature or severity of his condition. Hixon has been unconscious since trainers ran onto the field to treat him after he was tackled by USF defensive backs Javan Camon and Mike Jenkins in the second quarter of the Bulls' 21-7 victory.
Hixon's mother, Rebecca, attended Saturday's game and has been with him since he was taken to the hospital. His father, Stan, the receivers coach for the Washington Redskins, missed his team's 16-10 season-opening win Sunday against the Bucs and remains with his son.
"The family of Drew Hixon would like to express our deep appreciation for the wellspring of support that we have received from people all across America in response to Drew's injury," the family said in a statement. "Although he is in critical condition, we are trusting God for his life and healing. We know that nothing is impossible with God and we request your continued prayers for Drew's full and complete recovery."
Doctors placed Hixon in a coma Saturday night to stabilize his condition, and a TTU release Monday said his vital signs were stable. It's unknown how long he will remain in the coma or when he would be transferred.
"Drew is an exceptional young man, and our only concern is for his complete recovery," TTU athletic director Mark Wilson said. "Our thoughts and prayers are for Drew and his family during this difficult time. Every member of the football program, the athletic department and the entire university community is concerned and hopeful."
Hixon, 22, a senior majoring in finance, is the Golden Eagles' leading receiver this season with 10 catches for 102 yards, including the winning touchdown in the I-AA team's opening upset of nationally ranked Gardner-Webb. He started his college career at LSU and was part of the Tigers' 2001 Southeastern Conference championship team before transferring.
Bulls coach Jim Leavitt said his team and his staff have had Hixon in their thoughts since Saturday.
"My heart aches, and everybody in this program does," he said. "We continue to pray and continue to ask the Lord to wrap his arms around him. Our hearts go out to his family, and our guys understand that it's a blessing to be able to play this game."
Cards for Hixon can be sent to the TTU football office, Box 5057, Cookeville, TN 38505.