One game into the Elon University football team's season, an injury has struck a huge blow to the most important position.
Sophomore quarterback Connor Christiansen’s season is over. The left-hander from Fishers, Indiana was taken out of the game against Gardner-Webb University after one series in the second half.
Christiansen underwent an MRI over the weekend, and the results showed a shoulder injury that would require season-ending surgery. Head coach Rich Skrosky said the team is hopeful he can be available for spring practice.
"I want to thank everybody for the support," Christiansen said. "It is obviously difficult for me to miss the rest of the season and not be able to play with these guys. I will keep my head up and work hard in my recovery process and be the best teammate I can be from the sidelines."
Sophomore quarterback Daniel Thompson took over after Christiansen’s injury, completing 10-of-16 passes for 102 yards. Thompson will start Saturday at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
“I’ve just been concerned with how Connor is,” Thompson said. “I want him to get better — he’s a friend and a teammate. I don’t want any of my teammates to get hurt. I do want to play, as anyone on the team would, but you never want someone to get hurt. I’m just praying for him to have a speedy recovery.”
It’s a reversal of the 2015 season, when season-opening-starter Thompson was sidelined with spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leak, a neurological condition. At the time, Elon did not know how long Thompson would be out, but he only missed three games.
Christiansen was the starter in those games and played well, leading Elon to two wins. Over the spring, summer and fall, Christiansen took the majority of the snaps as the top quarterback on the depth chart. Skrosky told Christiansen that he was starting Aug. 26 — eight days before Elon’s season began.
In an interview Aug. 27, Christiansen talked about how he felt comfort knowing that, should anything happen to him, Thompson could seamlessly transition in for him.
“Football is a contact sport, and I’ve had a long history of injuries,” Christiansen said. “Like coach said, if something were to happen to me, god forbid, he wouldn’t bat an eye. Daniel is so devoted to the playbook and the offense that it would be a seamless transition.
“Which is comforting for me, because I don’t have to worry about it being me or nothing. There’s a very capable quarterback right behind me. The team is going to be just fine.”
It's something Skrosky reiterated himself that same day.
"It really was a hard decision, and the nice thing is I feel really good about both guys," Skrosky said. "If either of them had to play — after being in this conference for two years and seeing the quarterback play across the conference — I feel really good about our two guys.”