MSSU football player badly injured in game at Washburn expected to make full recovery

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 6:21 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) football player Kalepo Fiaseu, who suffered an injury forcing him to be taken to Stormont-Vail hospital, is expected to make a long, but full, recovery.

Fiaseu suffered a spinal cord injury Thursday, Sep. 7 in a football game at Washburn. As he was attempting to make a tackle, he made hard contact with the ball carrier. Doctors said as he made contact, his spinal cord popped out of place, then popped back in place when Fiaseu fell and landed on his back.

“As soon as I made contact, I blacked out for a couple of seconds,” Fiaseu said. “When I fell to the ground, that’s when I woke back up. I remember feeling absolutely nothing from the neck down. I couldn’t feel anything and I couldn’t move.”

The defensive lineman laid motionless on the field for at least five minutes before he was taken off of the field via stretcher and taken to Stormont-Vail Hospital. After 30 minutes at the hospital, Fiaseu regained feeling and mobility in his extremities. One day later, Fiaseu’s coach recorded a video of him walking.

MSSU’s head football coach Atiba Bradley released a statement the day after the game, saying he had full movement of his body.

Fiaseu’s mother, Tanya Fiaseu shared on social media that Kalepo’s MRI’s showed that all of his bones in his spine were in tact, meaning no surgery was needed and he will make a full recovery. Fiaseu says the recovery should take at least a year.

Tanya also shared on social media that the recovery process is a miracle and she is glad it did not turn into anything worse. She also shared that she received messages and encouraging words from the Washburn community that attended the game. “A lot of them reached out to me via Facebook and said they were praying for my son,” Tanya Fiaseu said. “We believe that God heard our prayers and got him out of a scary situation because it could have been really bad.”

Kalepo stayed at Stormont-Vail for a short period of time before being transferred to Joplin, Mo., where MSSU resides. He is out for the rest of 2023 season, but his return to football is not out of the picture. He plans to graduate in May 2024 with a Kinesiology degree, but will still have one more year of eligibility for football.