Cowboys staffer paralyzed after accident

May 3, 2009 7:49:34 PM PDT
A Dallas Cowboys scouting assistant sustained permanent paralysisIRVING, Texas (AP) -- A Dallas Cowboys scouting assistant was permanently paralyzed from the waist down after his spine was severed during the collapse of the team's tent-like practice structure in a severe storm.

The team announced Rich Behm was in stable condition at Parkland Hospital on Sunday after surgery to stabilize a fracture to the thoracic spine.

The 33-year-old Behm was among a dozen people hurt in the accident Saturday, and was one of three Cowboys staffers who remained hospitalized.

Joe DeCamillis, 43, the team's special teams coach, sustained a fracture of one of his cervical vertebrae without paralysis. He was in stable condition and scheduled for surgery Monday.

Assistant athletic trainer Greg Gaither, 35, had surgery Saturday night to repair a fracture to the tibia and fibula in his right leg. He is expected to be released from the hospital later this week.

"To the Behm family we extend our love, comfort, and the full support of every person and resource within the organization," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. "Rich is a courageous member of our family and someone for whom we care deeply. We ask for all friends and fans of the Dallas Cowboys to join us in embracing him and his family with their thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time."

Behm has a brother who also works in the Cowboys organization. Jones, who was attending the Kentucky Derby on Saturday when the accident occurred, didn't stop to talk to media outside the teams Valley Ranch headquarters when he arrived or left.

After arriving at the facility Sunday morning, Jones surveyed the mangled mess. He had a somber look on his face and his hands tucked in his pockets.

Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple said Jones spent "considerable time" Saturday night and Sunday visiting those in the hospital.

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