MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin punt returner David Gilreath was knocked out with a concussion early in the third quarter of Saturday's 27-14 win against San Jose State and was taken off the field in an ambulance.
Coach Bret Bielema said Gilreath was talking and trying to get up after losing consciousness for a little over a minute following a hard hit. The school said Gilreath was checked and released from the hospital later Saturday.
"He was basically concussed pretty heavy on the field, and probably was out for that first minute or so," Bielema said. "A minute and a half into it he started talking and moving his arms. He was trying to get up and they were pushing him down."
Gilreath fielded a punt and was met by San Jose State's Peyton Thompson, who wrapped him up from the front. As he was being stood up on the tackle, Dominique Hunsucker hit Gilreath hard from behind and appeared to make helmet-to-helmet contact.
"I expected to see a fair catch but he didn't fair catch it," Hunsucker said. "I felt bad for the player. I send all my prayers to him and his family and I hope he returns as soon as possible."
Hunsucker and the rest of the players on both sides looked on as coaches spread the word that Gilreath was moving his extremities.
"A few minutes after the play the coaches said he was responding and would be all right," Hunsucker said. "I hope that comes true."
Susie Pressley-Gilreath, Gilreath's mother, came down and talked to Bielema while her son was being worked on by medical staff. She later waved to the crowd when he was placed on a stretcher.
San Jose State coach Mike MacIntyre said Gilreath's injury was tough to see during what he said was a physical, well-played game to that point.
"I talked to coach after the game and he thought they would do an MRI and check him out, but they felt he was going to be all right. Hopefully he is," MacIntyre said. "That was a disappointing thing to see in the football game. It was a great hitting football game."
Gilreath has been Wisconsin's primary return specialist since his freshman year and Bielema said the No. 11 Badgers had some trouble focusing in the aftermath of the incident.
"All the kids are asking me questions, and I'm trying to give them the best answers to get them to go back out there," Bielema said. "It definitely interrupted the flow."