PITTSBURGH ? Super Bowl-winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers was in serious but stable condition this afternoon after the motorcycle he was riding was in an accident with a Chrysler New Yorker around noon.
PITTSBURGH, June 12 ? Super Bowl-winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers was in serious but stable condition today after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a Chrysler New Yorker around noon.
Doctors at Pittsburgh Mercy Hospital were operating on the 24-year-old Roethlisberger for undisclosed injuries, but they said the quarterback was both conscious and aware of events as he was wheeled into surgery.
Unconfirmed news reports said that Roethlisberger was having knee surgery.
"He was talking to me before he left for the operating room," said Larry Jones, M.D., chief of trauma at Mercy Hospital here "He's coherent. He's making sense. He knows what happened. He knows where he is. From that standpoint, he's very stable."
Dr. Jones did not discuss the extent of Roethlisberger's injuries. "He is right now in the operating room undergoing some surgery for injuries he received in this accident today," he said. "We want to leave it at that for right now."
However, ESPN, quoting an unnamed police source, reported that Roethlisberger's injuries included a broken jaw, a nine-inch cut on the back of his head, broken teeth, and knee damage.
Roethlisberger reportedly was riding his motorcycle at the intersection of Second Ave. and the 10th Street Bridge in downtown Pittsburgh, when he met up with a silver Chrysler New Yorker. Police were investigating and did not say whether anyone else was injured in the accident.
Roethlisberger took the Steelers to the Super Bowl title during his second season with the team.
Roethlisberger is known for preferring to ride his motorcycle without a helmet, but it was not immediately known if he was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Pennsylvania state law does not require motorcyclists to wear helmets.
However, Steelers coach Bill Cowher is on record as having urged his quarterback to wear a helmet.
The warning came in May 2005 after Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was injured in a motorcycle accident; he damaged a knee and was lost for the season. Winslow was reportedly wearing a helmet at the time, but it was unfastened and flew off during the accident.
A pro football career "is a very small time in your life, and you've got to be very careful." Cowher reportedly said. "You can see it documented with Kellen Winslow."
Cowher "talked about being a risk-taker and I'm not really a risk-taker," Roethlisberger responded at the time. "I'm pretty conservative and laid back, but the big thing is to just be careful."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), single car-motorcycle crashes account for about 45% of all fatalities among motorcycle riders. Fewer than half of those who died were wearing helmets at the time.