MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — If not for television replays and coaches’ game footage, WVU linebacker Doug Rigg couldn’t account for much of the time he spent lying motionless on the field at Oklahoma.
Jarred unconscious by a friendly-fire helmet-to-helmet hit from safety Karl Joseph, Rigg’s remembers only that “everything went black” upon impact. Minutes later he awoke to hear medical personnel saying, “We need to board him.”
Saturday night’s game was delayed for about 10 minutes in the fourth quarter after trainers were unable to gain a response from Rigg. As teammates circled, fellow senior Darwin Cook started crying when he noticed Rigg initially unable to move his limbs. When the next test showed Rigg had no sensation in his fingers, Cook really teared up. Finally, only seconds before being carted off, Rigg moved his extremities and Cook unleashed a tsunami of relief: “Man, that’s when I really started bawling.”
In the aftermath of the concussion—which will likely sideline him for this week’s game against Georgia State—Rigg joked about remembering only snippets of the ambulance ride out of the stadium, during which medics called his mom.
“I think I was joking around with her and joking around with, like, the nurses,” he said. “I was asking them stuff like, ‘Why is it so hot down here in Oklahoma?'”
The next day he scrolled through some 160 text messages, responding to each one individually.
“It felt great seeing all the love and support I got after the game,” he said.
If there’s any skittishness about returning to action after such a dramatic collision, Rigg didn’t show it Tuesday. In fact, he vowed “to come back and be able to play hard” just as he did after a broken wrist in 2011. Yet while his 20 career starts are tops among West Virginia’ linebackers, Rigg is clear-minded enough to realize he shouldn’t rush No. 21.
“I don’t want (the concussion) to linger on and then I miss games later on,” he said. “I’m going to make sure I’m fully healthy before I step back on the field.”
Listen to Doug Rigg’s interview below: