Chapel Hill, N.C. -- University of North Carolina senior linebacker Mark Paschal sustained a cervical spine injury in the Tar Heels' game Saturday vs. NC State.
Paschal was examined on the sideline in the second half and had an MRI on Sunday. Based on the findings of his exam and the MRI, UNC Sports Medicine staff has recommended that he no longer continue to play football due to the risk of further injury.
Paschal is expected to make a full recovery with no long-term effects.
"Our first concern is the health of Mark Paschal," said head coach Butch Davis. "Our sports medicine staff has assured him and his parents that he will make a complete recovery. Mark has had a terrific senior season, has been a great leader for us, and is on track to graduate in May. I appreciate how hard he has worked over the last two years to re-energize our program. Mark will continue to be an important part of our team for the remainder of the season."
A middle linebacker from Charlotte, N.C., Paschal has not missed a game in his career, playing in 47 consecutive contests. He is currently North Carolina's leading tackler with 103 stops, including 65 primary hits.
This season, he also has 6.5 tackles for losses, two sacks, two interceptions, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He was voted a team captain in 2008.