Junior long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt was conscious and walking around the field level of Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., after briefly losing consciousness in the fourth quarter of Maryland’s 9-3 loss to Loyola in Monday’s NCAA tournament final.
Coach John Tillman said that Bernhardt suffered a concussion. Bernhardt was spotted walking under his own power to a training room after the contest.
The Terps held their collective breath with 8:14 left in the fourth quarter when Bernhardt crashed into Greyhounds junior short-stick defensive midfielder Josh Hawkins and dropped to the turf. Tillman said he got queasy when he saw that Bernhardt’s eyes were closed.
Bernhardt later got up and walked off the field, but he did not return, and Tillman said after the game that Bernhardt was dealing with a concussion.
“I’m just happy he was able to walk off,” Tillman said. “We’ll certainly keep an eye on him, but he’s a special young guy. We just want to make sure he’s OK.”
Hawkins said his job on the play during which Bernhardt got injured entailed him setting a pick to keep one of Maryland’s offensive midfielder on the defensive side of the field for as long as possible.
“When I set that pick, he didn’t see me, which is what you want,” said Hawkins, who expressed concern for Bernhardt. “But unfortunately, his head clipped the side of my shoulder, and his head jerked back, and maybe he jerked his neck in a wrong way, and I think he might’ve gotten knocked out.”
Junior short-stick defensive midfielder Landon Carr said the defense missed Bernhardt – who shared the Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year award with Duke senior long-stick midfielder and Tewaaraton Award finalist C.J. Costabile – in that period as Loyola scored two goals during his absence.
“[W]e were trying to pressure out because they had the lead,” Carr said. “A guy like Jesse makes everything harder because he’s all over the field and causing turnovers and stuff. So when we lost him, we had some other guys that have done well in practice all year. They had time to step up, and they did a really good job. It just didn’t work out the way we wanted it to this time.