UCLA safety Dietrich Riley said that he is feeling no lingering pain from a devastating hit in UCLA’s 31-14 win over Cal on Saturday that left him temporarily without feeling, but also said that he would be sitting out against Arizona State at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Rose Bowl.
“I think it’s smart to sit out,” Riley said. “I think we have great enough depth at the safety position, and we have guys who are willing to step in and carry on. I’m just being safe for precautionary reasons.”
In the fourth quarter with the Bears driving in UCLA territory, Riley rammed into Cal running back Isi Sofele and slinked to the ground, motionless. Riley said he had no feeling in his upper or lower body until the UCLA training staff rushed to tend to him, and he flashed a thumbs up and waved to the Rose Bowl crowd as he was being carted off the field before being taken to Huntington Hospital.
“It was scary,” Riley said. “I really didn’t know what to expect. I couldn’t feel anything, couldn’t feel my upper or lower body at the moment. Once the training staff came out to field, that’s when I began to get feeling back. I’m just thankful to be here today, thankful I’m walking, thankful I’m alive. It could’ve been more severe. I’m just thankful the man above was watching over me.”
Riley, who starred at St. Francis High, took the blame for the hit, saying that he led with his head, a problem that has plagued him in his tenure at UCLA.
“It’s not high school where you can lead with your head and knock guys out,” Riley said. “You have to play safe and use the fundamentals of tackling.”