NFL star taken to hospital after crash
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) — Cam Newton, one of the NFL’s biggest stars, suffered fractures in his lower back and was taken to a hospital Tuesday after being involved in a two-vehicle crash not far from his team’s stadium.
Television footage showed Newton on a stretcher being placed in an ambulance. It was unclear how badly the 25-year-old Carolina Panther was injured, but photos from the Charlotte Observer showed Newton smiling as he was attended to by an officer on the ground. Newton, who plays the pivotal quarterback position, is one of the National Football League’s most celebrated young stars.
A Carolina Panthers spokesman said Newton had fractures in his lower back that will not require surgery and had no other internal injuries. He was in fair condition at Carolinas Medical Center where he would remain overnight for observation. Newtown was expected be released Wednesday, but it was unclear when he would play again.
A black pickup truck that police Newton was driving was overturned on the roadway with debris scattered all over the street. The roof of the truck was caved in. Another car that appeared to be involved in the crash had front end damage.
The police were investigating how the crash happened on a bridge that crosses a busy highway in the shadow of Bank of America Stadium, where the Panthers play.
Newton shot to stardom as a college player, leading the Auburn Tigers to a national championship and winning national player of the year honors.
As word of the accident spread online, NFL players started sending good wishes on social media.
Newton was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL amateur draft and was inserted in as Carolina’s quarterback right away. He has only missed one game this season. Newton has one year left on his rookie contract after the Panthers picked up a $15 million option for 2015.
The Panthers have repeatedly said Newton is a player they view as their franchise quarterback moving forward. But it has been a rough year for him.
After the Panthers fell at home to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC divisional playoffs in January, Newton had ankle surgery in March that sidelined him for all but one of the team’s spring practices.
He returned for the start of the training camp, but then suffered another setback when he fractured his ribs during a preseason game against the New England Patriots.
The injuries forced Newton to miss Carolina’s season opener. He had said he’s not been close to 100 percent all season.