University of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s dislocated right hip will keep him sidelined for the rest of his junior year, but afterward he acknowledged that God has something planned for him.
The 21-year-old Samoan-American was carted off the field and airlifted to a medical facility in Birmingham after he suffered a season-ending injury in the second quarter of last Saturday 31-24 victory at Mississippi State.
It was an injury that some speculated could put his future as a potential first overall National Football League draft pick next April in serious jeopardy. Additionally, Tagovailoa suffered a concussion and broken nose.
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Although the site of the star quarterback being carted off the field was a somber moment for football fans, Tagovailoa wasted no time in ensuring his supporters that things will be OK.
“Thank you all for the prayers and well wishes!” he tweeted Saturday night. “God always has a plan.”
Tim Tebow, a Christian athlete who starred as the quarterback for the University of Florida from 2006 to 2009 and now plays baseball in the New York Mets farm system, said on ESPN Friday that he reached out to Tagovailoa after his injury.
“It is a freak injury and a freak thing. I feel bad for the kid,” Tebow said on “First Take.” “Right after it happened, I was texting him and letting him know I was praying for him.”
“He was texting me back words of encouragement,” Tebow added. “He is a special young man to be able to have the mindset and that perspective. I know so many people are rooting for him and praying for him and encouraging him. I know he appreciates it, but he is someone that if anyone can handle this, he can and he is a special young man.”
Tagovailoa had successful surgery on his right hip on Wednesday.
"Tua's prognosis is excellent, and we expect him to make a full recovery," Alabama orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lyle Cain said in a statement.
Tagovailoa has not been afraid in the past to express his faith on the field.
In 2018, Tagovailoa said he spoke in tongues to “keep calm” as he led his team to a victory in the National Championship Game as a freshman. The quarterback was reported to have prayed before and after offensive possessions.
"I would say my poise comes from my faith," Tagovailoa told Yahoo Sports. "I just pray for peace."
In a recent interview with CBN News, Tagovailoa said his foundation is his faith and his family.
“You know my faith is what keeps me motivated when I can't even stay motivated myself,” the quarterback said. “I'm just trying to play football, just trying to be able to take care of my family and be able to use my platform for the right reasons."
Earlier this month, Tagovailoa expressed joy on Instagram that his father made the decision to follow Christ.
"With the amount of prayers from family, this is a huge deal," Tagovailoa wrote.
On “First Take,” Tebow also weighed in on the debate over whether Tagovailoa should have played at all against Mississippi State, a team with only a 2-5 record in the SEC West, especially considering he recently had surgery on his ankle.
“I didn’t think Tua should play. I thought they were going to take care of Mississippi State very easily and handily and they could get [Tagovailoa’s back-up] Mac Jones ready,” Tebow said. “Just with his ankle and everything, I would have rested him. People say that [the ankle injury] doesn’t play into it. But he would have been a step faster. He would have been a step quicker and that [injury] might not have happened.”
“But I don’t want to look back on or knock Coach [Nick] Saban for doing it,” Tebow added. “He was doing what he thinks is right and he is the best coach of all time.”