Roethlisberger breaks jaw, nose in motorcycle crash
04:47 PM CDT on Monday, June 12, 2006
PITTSBURGH -- Steelers star Ben Roethlisberger, the youngest quarterback to lead a team to the Super Bowl championship, broke his jaw and nose in a motorcycle crash Monday in which he was not wearing a helmet.
Roethlisberger was in serious but stable condition Monday afternoon, Dr. Larry Jones, chief of trauma at Mercy Hospital said before surgery.
The player's agent, Leigh Steinberg, described the injuries to The Associated Press and said he did not know if there was further damage.
"He was talking to me before he left for the operating room," Jones said. "He's coherent. He's making sense. He knows what happened. He knows where he is. From that standpoint, he's very stable."
Steelers president Art Rooney said the team was "encouraged by the early reports from the medical team" at the hospital. "I am sure Ben knows that we are praying for his complete recovery."
Roethlisberger, 24, was without a helmet, police said. He has said he likes to ride without one, a habit that once prompted a lecture from Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher.
Roethlisberger was between radio interviews and on his black 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa - large, racing-style bike - and heading toward an intersection on the edge of downtown. A silver Chrysler New Yorker traveling in the opposite direction took a left turn and collided with the motorcycle, and Roethlisberger was thrown, police said.
The other car was driven by a 62-year-old woman, police said. They didn't immediately release her name and no charges were filed.
Witness Sandra Ford was waiting at a bus stop when she said she saw the motorcycle approach. Seconds later, she said she heard a crash, saw the motorcyclist in the air and ran toward the crash scene.
"He wasn't moving and I was afraid that he had died. ... He wasn't really speaking. He seemed dazed but he was resisting the effort to make him stay down," said Ford, who didn't realize the motorcyclist was Roethlisberger.
Police spokesman Lt. Kevin Kraus said police and homicide units were leading the investigation, a standard practice when there is an accident with critical injuries.