Roethlisberger in Motorcycle Accident without Helmet (Video Photos) ***Updated***
Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback for the world champion Pittsburgh Steelers, crashed his motorcycle this morning while not wearing a helmet.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was taken to the hospital after a motorcycle accident on Monday morning. The Steelers confirmed the accident for WTAE Channel 4 Action News. A news briefing from Pittsburgh police was expected shortly.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said the accident happened on Second Avenue near the 10th Street Bridge.
A witness told Channel 4 Action News that Roethlisberger went over the handlebars, hit the windshield of another vehicle and then hit the ground. The witness said she saw the accident and went over to help but did not recognize Roethlisberger. When she asked him what his name was, she said he replied, “Ben.” The woman added that Roethlisberger asked her a series of questions, including where he was and what state he was in. He attempted to stand up but the woman said she encouraged him not to move until paramedics arrived.
Roethlisberger was taken to Mercy Hospital. There is no word on the extent of his injuries.
Police have closed down the bridge, Second Avenue and the Armstrong Tunnels.
Roethlisberger was not wearing a helmet, according to the Tribune-Review. In the past, he has publicly said he prefers to ride helmetless, which is legal in Pennsylvania.
There is live video of Channel 4 Action News Reports From The Scene at the link.
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“He was alert and conscious,” said Ernie Roman, shift commander for the Allegheny County emergency service, told The Associated Press.
ESPN.com’s John Clayton reports that Roethlisberger was conscious while undergoing treatment for gashes on his forehead — and that early indications are the injuries are not life-threatening.
Roethlisberger, the team’s first-round choice in the 2004 draft, was transported to the trauma unit of nearby Mercy Hospital, a source confirmed for ESPN.com’s Len Pasquarelli, but his condition is unknown. Witnesses told authorities that Roethlisberger’s motorcycle collided with a car near a downtown intersection and that Roethlisberger’s head hit the windshield and was bleeding. Roethlisberger has said in the past that he prefers not to wear a helmet when riding.
Steelers officials have confirmed the accident, which occurred on Second Avenue near the intersection of 10th Street in Pittsburgh, around 11:30 a.m. The route is one often taken in traveling to the Steelers’ facility in the Southside section of the city.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Roethlisberger wasn’t wearing a helmet. In previous interviews, Roethlisberger has said that he does not like wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle. In the wake of a motorcycle accident sustained by Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow last spring, Roethlisberger spoke about his own fixation with motorcycles, and his penchant for riding without a helmet. He was admonished by former Steelers quarterback and Hall of Fame member Terry Bradshaw for potentially jeopardizing his career.
In May 2005, Steelers coach Bill Cowher lectured Roethlisberger on the dangers of riding without a helmet. “He talked about being a risk-taker and I’m not really a risk-taker. I’m pretty conservative and laid back, but the big thing is to just be careful,” Roethlisberger said at the time. “I’ll just continue to be careful. I told him we don’t ever ride alone, we always ride in a group of people, and I think it makes it even more safe.”
Apparently, he was neither with a group of people nor safe this morning. Thankfully, it appears that he will get a chance to rethink he position on helmets.
Hat tip Brandon Minich.
UPDATE: It’s significantly worse than it initially sounded, although not life threatening: “Roethlisberger lost most of his teeth, fractured his left sinus cavity bone, suffered a nine-inch laceration to the back of his head and a broken jaw, and injured both of his knees when he hit the ground, police said.”
Some photos from the accident scene, taken by Philip G. Pavely of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: