UH football player DJ Hayden released from hospital after tearing vein in collision during practice

November 13, 2012 3:38:47 AM PST
Just six days after suffering a life-threatening injury, University of Houston football player D.J. Hayden was back among his teammates. He stopped at a team meeting after being released from the hospital.

Now he is back home with family. A relative tells us they are grateful for everyone's support and prayers.

Hayden's biggest game of season was at home against UTEP. He had two interceptions that game, one he took all the way back for a touchdown. It was a highlight of October 27. On Monday, there was a bigger one.

"To be where he is right now compared to where he was on Tesday evening is miraculous," said UH Team Physician Walter Lowe.

Hayden, a senior defensive back and captain, was hurt in a freak hit during practice last week. The injury, mostly associated with car accidents and usually 95 percent fatal, tore the large vein -- the inferior vena cava -- that carries blood from the lower half of the body back up to the heart.

Lowe credits the quick response from medical personnel for saving Hayden's life. Last week, the doctor talked about Hayden's chance of returning to football.

"A lot of that is up to him and how he heals. Potentially he could, yes," Lowe said.

The doctor says the surgery to repair the large vein is a lot like a heart transplant. Hayden should be able to resume normal activities without contact in three to four months.