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Roethlisberger Injured in Cycle Crash

PITTSBURGH — Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has said he dislikes wearing a motorcycle helmet, was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash and taken to a hospital Monday.

Dr. Larry Jones, chief of trauma at Mercy Hospital, said Roethlisberger was in serious but stable condition in an operating room Monday afternoon. Roethlisberger was undergoing surgery, but Jones would not say for what.

“He was talking to me before he left for the operating room,” Jones said. “He’s coherent. He’s making sense. He knows what happened. He knows where he is. From that standpoint, he’s very stable.”

It was not immediately clear if Roethlisberger was wearing a helmet when he got into the accident at an intersection at the edge of downtown at around 11:30 a.m. A pool of blood was visible there early Monday afternoon.

Lt. Kevin Kraus, a Pittsburgh police spokesman, said police and homicide units were investigating the crash, something standard when there is an accident with critical injuries. Kraus would give no details on the extent of Roethlisberger’s injuries or if anyone else was injured in the crash.

A silver Chrysler New Yorker with damage to the front passenger fender was removed and Roethlisberger’s black bike was loaded onto a flatbed truck Monday afternoon.

In only his second year in the NFL, Roethlisberger helped guide the Steelers to the Super Bowl championship last season.

Several teammates, including backup quarterback Charlie Batch, linebacker Joey Porter and safety Mike Logan, arrived at the hospital emergency room but did not comment.

Calls to Roethlisberger’s agent, Leigh Steinberg, were not immediately returned.

The 24-year-old Roethlisberger has said in the past that he prefers not to wear a helmet when riding his motorcycle. He has pointed out Pennsylvania’s state law requiring helmets to be worn was repealed in September 2003.

In May 2005, Steelers coach Bill Cowher lectured Roethlisberger on the dangers of riding without a helmet.

“He talked about being a risk-taker and I’m not really a risk-taker. I’m pretty conservative and laid back, but the big thing is to just be careful,” Roethlisberger said at the time. “I’ll just continue to be careful. I told him we don’t ever ride alone, we always ride in a group of people, and I think it makes it even more safe.”

In May 2005, Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. tore knee ligaments in a motorcycle accident and was lost for the season.

Roethlisberger continued to ride after Winslow’s accident and that angered Terry Bradshaw, who quarterbacked the Steelers to four Super Bowl victories during the 1970s.

Visiting the Steelers’ training camp last summer, Bradshaw remarked: “Ride it when you retire.”

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