NEW ORLEANS ― Al Nastasi Jr. remains in a local hospital’s neurological intensive care unit after suffering a “closed head injury” during the Saints’ game against the Browns at the Superdome on Sunday.
Nastasi’s son said Monday his father remains “in stable condition in the neuro ICU and is in constant observation with daily diagnostic testing.”
Al Nastasi III, a physical therapist on the Northshore, said recovery appears promising for his father, who he described as a private man.
“Indicators are favorable but he’s not out of the woods yet,” Nastasi III said. “But we’re optimistic about his recovery.”
A closed head injury is defined by the National Institutes of Health as “a hard blow to the head from striking an object, but the object did not break the skull.”
The elder Nastasi was injured midway through the third quarter when Saints special teams player Courtney Roby ran him over as he held part of the 10-yard chain on the home sideline. Roby was penalized 15 yards for not making a better attempt at getting back in bounds after a Browns player forced him out of bounds.
Replays showed Roby being pushed out of bounds nearly five yards before barreling over Nastasi at full speed.
A person with knowledge of the injury said Nastasi likely had a seizure on the field, prompting the quick medical assistance from paramedics stationed at the Superdome.
“Given the nature of the collision and the mechanism of injury, the family feels quite fortunate that he is functioning as well as he is,” Nastasi III said.
Roby called the accident scary and visited with the family at Ochsner Regional Medical Center, where Nastasi was taken after being carted off the field.
“It kind of hit home because my mother, she has had seizures and things to that nature before so to see a head trauma like that, I never want to see anything like that happen,” Roby said Monday.
Message boards and Twitter were full of well wishes from fans and players alike within the hour the game finished and continued into Monday.
And for that, the family is grateful.
“We’re truly amazed and blessed at the level of community support and cannot express enough gratitude at the thoughts, concern and prayer,” Nastasi III said.