Cardinals S Budda Baker leaves stadium in ambulance after violent collision with Cam Akers

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Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker left the field on a stretcher Monday night after a violent collision with Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers.

The play took place in the third quarter of the NFC wild-card game in Los Angeles with the Rams leading, 28-8. Akers took a handoff from Matthew Stafford from the Cardinals' 16-yard line and broke free into the secondary at full speed. Baker met Akers near the 6-yard line with a diving tackle. As Baker dove, Akers lowered his head, and their helmets collided.

Baker immediately went stiff and rolled over on his back after the collision.

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker is carted off the field during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Budda Baker left the field on a stretcher before being transported to a local hospital. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Athletic trainers rushed to tend to Baker, who remained on the field for several minutes as medical staff stabilized him on a stretcher. Before he was wheeled off the field, he raised his right arm into the air. He eventually left SoFi Stadium in an ambulance.

The Cardinals later announced that Baker suffered a concussion, and had movement and feeling in his extremities.

After he arrived at a local hospital, the Cardinals announced that Baker was alert, communicative and never lost feeling.

Tempers flare after hit

In the immediate aftermath of the collision, Akers walked past Baker and gestured toward him while he was on the ground, seemingly unaware that Baker was injured.

Some Cardinals players confronted Akers before everyone on the field turned their attention to Baker. When the nature of the situation was clear, Akers stood alongside players from both teams concerned about Baker's health.

Akers then wished Baker well on Twitter after the game, and confirmed he was unaware of what had happened in the moment.

The game was already chippy as the Rams built a double-digit lead, with Los Angeles defensive tackle Aaron Donald drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty during a scuffle on the previous Cardinals possession. The Rams won, 34-11 to advance to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in next weekend's divisional round.

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