Panthers' Chandler Zavala hospitalized after suffering scary neck injury vs Lions

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 08: Medical personnel attend to Chandler Zavala #62 of the Carolina Panthers after he was injured in the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 08, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio

Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Chandler Zavala was taken off the field on a backboard and rushed to the hospital after he suffered a significant injury Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

Zavala went down after engaging with a defender on a seemingly innocuous play. He was on the ground for several minutes as medical personnel came out to check on him.

Benches from both sidelines emptied onto the field as Zavala was being looked at.


A cart and a backboard came out for Zavala. The 6-foot-3-inch, 322-pound lineman was placed on the back of the cart. And as he was being driven off of the field, he gave a thumbs-up to the crowd.


DETROIT, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 08: Chandler Zavala #62 of the Carolina Panthers is carted off the field after being injured in the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 08, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty

FOX’s sideline reporter Pam Oliver said Zavala was taken to the hospital to be further evaluated. Oliver said he was dealing with a neck injury.


Zavala returned from the hospital later in the day and flew back home with the team.

"That's the scary part of what we do," Panthers center Bradley Bozeman said, via the team's website. "When a guy like Chandler goes down, and he's sitting there, they're taking the facemask off and getting the cart out, it's scary. But at the end of the day, we've got to move on; you've got to log back in.

"He was like, 'Hey, go get this,' so we knew he was good. But just trying to keep fighting and trying to just lock back into the moment. It's always a feeling of relief whenever they say something back, or they give the thumbs up or whatever it is. He did that, and you know, he was letting us know that he was cool."

The Panthers selected Zavala in the fourth round of the draft this past spring. He played for Fairmont State and North Carolina State in college before he turned pro.

Zavala was listed as the starting guard coming into the game. The team has Calvin Throckmorton and Nah Jensen listed as backups on their depth chart. Cade Mays replaced him.

Carolina came into the game seeking its first win of the season. The Panthers are 0-4.

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