Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/16/14
If you shuddered a little after watching Stevan Ridley take a brutal hit from Bernard Pollard and immediately lose consciousness on Sunday night, you probably weren’t alone. However, the realities of the injury are much more cringe-worthy than even the image of watching Ridley suddenly go limp. According to Bleacher Report, Ridley immediately exhibited what is known as the “fencing response” after taking the hit. Upon hitting the ground, Ridley’s left arm went straight out and above him, while his right arm curled back into his chest. These actions were completely involuntary, but are common when sudden pressure is applied to the brain stem. In short, when babies are born they eventually develop the ability to have certain reflexive muscle responses. One of these is the “Moro reflex,” which occurs when, for instance, a baby is put down or isn’t being held anymore. This response is believed to have evolved so that a baby can reach out for physical support, and the fencing response is said to be a reactivation of sorts of the Moro reflex. In Ridley’s case, the hit from Pollard not only compressed his brain stem, but exhibited rotational forces since the hit wasn’t straight on. The brain stem is particularly sensitive to rotational force, and that is why Ridley lost consciousness so easily. The hit stunned the running back’s reticular activating system, which is located in the brain stem and is responsible for maintaining consciousness. Of course, Ridley also  sustained a concussion, as well. Now better understood, concussions are no longer believed to be “brain bruises” but are now known to occur when the brain moves inside the skull as little as seven millimeters. One obvious sign of just how badly Ridley was doing was overlooked, as he bumped into the wall on his way to the locker room.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Miller to Oregon transfer rumor originates on Reddit

Valencia FC ditches bat logo amidst DC Comics challenge

Paul Pierce: Celtics' Big Three was like 'Holy Trinity'

Cubs reportedly offer Jon Lester more than $135 million

Colin Kaepernick: Jim Harbaugh will be back in 2015

Jeremy Maclin not happy with Riley Cooper’s contract remark

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Broncos reportedly waive kicker McManus, sign Connor Barth

Report: Browns not committed to Brian Hoyer long-term

Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox officially agree to contract

Ex-NFLer passed out in Wendy's drive-thru, arrested for DUI

Ex-NFL DB Fred Smoot arrested on domestic assault charges

Jets’ Sheldon Richardson: ‘I didn’t get drafted to lose games’

Aaron Rodgers blasts those who accused him of trolling Vikings

The century's 10 most one-sided college football rivalries

WATCH: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of NBA's first month

Sherman mocks NFL media policies in press conference

Why Packers' offense continues to evolve despite success

'Fire Idzik' billboard updated with suggestion for Jets owner

Watt buys pizza, shows gratitude to Houston firefighters, cops

College football's post-Week 13 Playoff projection

Which teams have the best shot at an undefeated season?

Infographic: Terrell Suggs' sack victims after notching 100th

Dude Perfect video features Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll

Rick Pitino 'played four white guys and an Egyptian' in blowout

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

Century's most one-sided CFB rivalries

Pierce: C's Big Three like 'Holy Trinity'

Maclin unhappy with Cooper comments

Post-Week 13 CFB Playoff projection

What has Masai Ujiri built in Toronto?

How L.A. should replace Hanley

Lester, Red Sox still talking contract

Why each NFL team should be thankful

Could Kentucky beat the 76ers?

Greatest college football rivalries

LeBron on losing streak: 'I stink'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.