Tennessee State LB Christion Abercrombie still critical after emergency surgery

The mother of Christion Abercrombie says the Tennessee State linebacker remains in critical condition following emergency surgery for a head injury after he collapsed on the sideline late in the first half against Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Abercrombie's mother, Staci, said in a statement from the university that "Christion is resting. He's fighting. We're trusting God and please continue to pray."

A TSU update Sunday said Abercrombie's condition was still listed as critical at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and that he was "surrounded by his family, teammates, the TSU family and members of the Vanderbilt community."

Tigers coach Rod Reed told The Tennessean on Saturday that he was not sure exactly how or when the Atlanta native was hurt before coming to the sideline late in the second quarter of a 31-27 loss to Vanderbilt.

"He came to the sideline and just kind of collapsed there," Reed said.

Abercrombie was given oxygen on the sideline, then taken away on a stretcher.

The linebacker redshirted at Illinois in 2016 and played 11 games in 2017 before transferring to Tennessee State. He came into Saturday's game as the Tigers' second-leading tackler and was credited with five tackles and a quarterback hurry before suffering the injury.

After the game ended, players from both teams joined Reed and Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason for a prayer for Abercrombie, his family and the Tigers.

"Football's what we do, not who we are," Mason said. "I know what it is to be a coach. I know what it is to have a player who's injured. At the end of the day, when serious injuries happen, football becomes secondary."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.