DAYTONA BEACH – The best defensive player in Stetson football history has a message for the best offensive player in the team’s history.
“He’s got this,” Donald Payne, the three-time FCS All-American, said about former teammate and current Los Angeles Chargers tight end Donald Parham Jr. “It’s a very sad situation at the moment. We’re not just talking about a great football player right now, but also a great guy and great teammate.”
Parham was in stable condition overnight Thursday and being evaluated for a head injuryafter the back of his head slammed into the ground early in Thursday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Friday the team announced Parham had suffered a concussion. In a tweet, the Chargers said Parham was resting comfortably, alert and would likely be discharged from the hospital later Friday.
The former Hatter, now in his second season in Los Angeles, dove for a fourth down pass from QB Justin Herbert in the back of the end zone, but dropped the ball when the back of his head hit the ground.
WARNING: The following video may be unsettling.
A camera quickly zoomed on Parham’s face, showing both his eyes and mouth shut with his left arm bent in a frozen position. He was seen squeezing a trainer’s hand by Fox cameras before being placed on a stretcher and taken to UCLA Harbor Medical Center.
“We’re all praying for good news on Donald’s condition and for him to have a speedy recovery,” Stetson head coach Brian Young said. “The latest update that he is in stable condition gives us hope that we will see him in good health again soon.”
Stetson competes in the Pioneer Football League, which is a non-scholarship, football-only Football Championship Subdivision conference. The private university in Central Florida has about 3,150 undergraduates.
Parham played at Stetson from 2015-18 and left as the program’s all-time leader in receptions (180), receiving yards (2,591), receiving touchdowns (20) and all-purpose yards (2,591).
After a pair of NFL stints with the Detroit Lions and Washington Football Team, along with one season in the XFL, Parham has found a home in Los Angeles over the past two years, hauling in 30 receptions for 349 yards and six touchdowns.
Payne played with Parham for two seasons.
“He’s represented his family as well as Stetson in an exceptional way,” Payne said. “I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m proud of all he’s accomplished. I know the entire Hatter family is praying for him and a speedy recovery.”
Payne, who is currently a free agent, and Parham are the only two Hatters to play in the NFL.
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