Four doctors operated on Roethlisberger for seven hours to treat multiple facial fractures and “all of the fractures were successfully repaired,” Dr. Harry W. Sell, chairman of the surgery department at Mercy Hospital, told reporters late Monday night.
Dr. Daniel Pituch, who led the team, said Roethlisberger was in serious but stable condition, and doctors were aware of no other serious injuries.
“His brain, spine, chest and abdomen appear to be without serious injury and there are no other confirmed injuries at this time,” he said.
The doctors said his condition was not expected to change through the evening, and that no updates were expected until Tuesday. They declined to release further information at his family’s request.
Roethlisberger was talking to doctors before the surgery, Dr. Larry Jones, chief of trauma at Mercy Hospital said.
“He’s coherent. He’s making sense,” Jones said. “He knows what happened. He knows where he is. From that standpoint, he’s very stable.”
Roethlisberger’s stepmother, Brenda, was crying as she arrived at the hospital.
Steelers president Art Rooney II said the team was “encouraged by the early reports from the medical team” at the hospital. “I am sure Ben knows that we are praying for his complete recovery.”
The 24-year-old Roethlisberger was without a helmet, police said. He has said he likes to ride without one, a habit that once prompted a lecture from Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher.
Roethlisberger was on his black 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa – the company calls it the world’s fastest bike for legal street riding – and heading toward an intersection on the edge of downtown. A Chrysler New Yorker traveling in the opposite direction took a left turn and collided with the motorcycle, and Roethlisberger was thrown, police said.
The other car was driven by a 62-year-old woman, police said. They didn’t immediately release her name and no charges were filed.
Witness Sandra Ford was waiting at a bus stop when she said she saw the motorcycle approach. Seconds later, she said she heard a crash, saw the motorcyclist in the air and ran toward the crash scene.
“He wasn’t moving and I was afraid that he had died. … He wasn’t really speaking. He seemed dazed but he was resisting the effort to make him stay down,” said Ford, who didn’t realize the motorcyclist was Roethlisberger.
Police spokesman Lt. Kevin Kraus said police and homicide units were leading the investigation, a standard practice when there is an accident with critical injuries.
In only his second year in the NFL, Roethlisberger helped guide the Steelers to the Super Bowl title in February at age 23. Training camp for next season begins at the end of July.
Several teammates, including backup quarterback Charlie Batch, linebacker Joey Porter and safety Mike Logan, arrived at the emergency room.