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Zack Darlington airlifted to hospital

DUNCAN, S.C. -- Nebraska quarterback recruit Zack Darlington was taken to a hospital after a violent hit near the sideline during his high school game Saturday.

As the game ended between Darlington's Apopka (Fla.) and Byrnes (S.C.), the customary handshake line turned to watch the rising Spartanburg Regional Medical One helicopter carrying Darlington leave the practice field.

Darlington was hit as he went out of bounds on his team's sideline in the fourth quarter. Medical personnel were called over immediately.

Multiple sources said Darlington was unconscious for a period of time and lay motionless as he was put onto a stretcher with a brace around his neck. 

A few hours after the game, Apopka athletic director Fred Priest said Darlington was talking and had movement. A concussion was the early diagnosis, and doctors would prefer to keep him at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center for 24-48 hours.

Byrnes coach Bobby Bentley sprinted to the opposite side of the field as soon as he saw the hit.

"I saw how violent that was, and knew it was bad," he said.

Rick Darlington, Zack's father and Apopka's coach, drove with family members to the hospital.

An Apopka assistant coach said the physicians on site were working "fast and furious. They grabbed him and put him on a stretcher so we really didn't get much information."

Darlington, a Nebraska commit, has battled previous injuries and was helped off the field at the end of the second quarter with an apparent shoulder injury.

"We are just going to hope and pray that he is going to be okay," said the Apopka assistant. "Coach Darlington and his family and some Apopka personnel are going to be in Spartanburg so that when we can take him home, we can take him home."