Former JSU star Bolden released from hospital after being carted off the field

Published 6:33 pm Sunday, August 20, 2023

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Patriots’ rookie cornerback Isaiah Bolden has been released from a Green Bay area hospital following a series of evaluations after being carted off the field in the fourth quarter of New England’s exhibition game with the Packers on Saturday night.

The Patriots said in a statement Sunday that Bolden, who appeared to collide with teammate Calvin Munson while attempting to make a hit on a pass completion to Green Bay’s Malik Heath, traveled with the team Sunday when it returned to Massachusetts.

The Patriots announced they’ve canceled their scheduled joint practices with the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday and Wednesday in Nashville. The Patriots will train in Foxborough this week and fly to Tennessee on Thursday for Friday’s exhibition game.

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Bolden played college football at Jackson State. He was selected by the the Patriots in the seventh round of this year’s NFL draft. Bolden posted a message Sunday morning to the platform X, formerly known as Twitter, thanking people for their concern.

“Appreciate the prayers more excited to be back with the guys,” the message said.

The Patriots and Packers mutually agreed to call off the remainder of the game after Bolden’s injury, with the Patriots leading 21-17 with 10:29 left in the fourth quarter. The team said after the injury that Bolden had movement in all of his extremities and was transported to Aurora Bay Medical Center for testing.

Bolden appeared to collide with teammate Calvin Munson while attempting to make a hit on a pass completion to Malik Heath of the Packers.

“It looks like just one of those collision hits, those freak hits that you see on rare occasions in this league, that you hate to see,” Patriots cornerback Jalen Mills said after the game. “We really couldn’t see him too much. It looked like he was moving and his eyes were open, but as of right now, just asking everybody to keep him in their prayers and we hope for the best.”

As medical officials treated Bolden, both teams left their respective sidelines and got on the field, with some players getting on one knee.

After Bolden was carted off the field, the two teams conferred and decided not to continue the game. The game stopped with the Patriots leading 21-17 with 10:29 left in the fourth quarter.

“It’s a reminder of the fragility of life,” Patriots special teams player Matthew Slater said. “It’s not something we spend a lot of time thinking about, but the reality is all of us will have to wrestle with that at some point in time, every person who’s ever walked the face of this Earth. I think it’s unfortunate that it happens in this context and this setting because this is meant to be a joyful, celebratory experience.

“We’re playing a game. We’re doing what we love. We’re entertaining people. People are getting enjoyment out of our game. But it’s a reminder that things can turn on a dime.

“It’s something you have to put out of your head as a player because you can’t go out there with fear and hesitation, but the reality is things happen in life and certainly things happen in football all the time.”

Players from both teams said they were reminded of the injury to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin last season.  Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated on the field after making what appeared to be a routine tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2.

Hamlin’s heart stopped as a result of commotio cordis, which is when a direct blow at a specific point in a heartbeat causes cardiac arrest.

Hamlin has since returned to the Bills and played in his hometown of Pittsburgh earlier in the day and had three tackles in a loss to the Steelers.

Given the similarities, both teams agreed there was no point in continuing the game.

“This is not the AFC championship,” Patriots special teams player Matthew Slater said. “We’re not playing for records. It’s preseason game two. When you have an injury like that, it affects a lot of guys in a lot of different ways. Clearly our team was shaken by what happened.”

Players from both teams had connections to Bolden.

Slater called Bolden “a joy to be around” since the rookie arrived in New England. Heath grew up in Jackson, Miss., and knew Bolden from the cornerback’s Jackson State roots. Heath also played at Mississippi State. Patriots quarterback Mac Jones said he’s known Bolden since they were both in high school.

“We played 7-on-7 football together,” Jones said. “Definitely one of my brothers.”

Now they’re hoping they can see him again as soon as possible.

“Just asking everybody to keep him in their prayers,” Mills said. “We hope for the best.”