A week after making his first start and leading the Gators with a career-high 12 tackles, linebacker Darrin Kitchens was taken off the field on a stretcher Saturday night against Florida State.
Kitchens was injured on the opening kickoff of the second half when he took a helmet-to-helmet hit and lay motionless on the field for more than 10 minutes as team trainers and paramedics stabilized his neck.
Kitchens was taken by ambulance to Shands Hospital for further tests. The good news is that all tests on his neck were negative and Kitchens was released from the hospital late Saturday night after being diagnosed with a concussion.
On his weekly Sunday morning television show, Gators coach Will Muschamp said he spoke to Kitchens on Saturday night and that the sophomore from Homestead was “going to be fine.’’
Immediately after the game Muschamp spoke about perhaps the most frightening moment of Florida’s season. As Kitchens was being placed on a stretcher and removed from the field on a motorized cart, the Gators stood nearby watching in silence.
“It’s always scary when you deal with something like that,’’ Muschamp said. “A good, clean hit on their part.”
Kitchens is a reserve linebacker and one of the Gators’ top performers on special teams. He has played in 21 games in his career and has 21 tackles in 12 games this season.