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Arizona football: Kickoff specialist Edgar Gastelum gets hit on the head with a ball, suffers a concussion

It’s been that kind of year for the Wildcats

NCAA Football: Colorado at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Wildcats kickoff specialist Edgar Gastelum sat out Saturday’s 49-24 loss to No. 12 Colorado because he suffered a concussion in practice during the week.

How did it happen? A ball hit Gastelum on the head at practice and he wasn’t wearing a helmet.

“It’s hard to believe. The ball hit him — it’s probably happened to all of us — but somehow that caused a concussion and he can’t kick,” Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “That’s a first.”

Rodriguez’s reaction?

“Are you kidding me!?” he said in dismay.

Kicker/punter Josh Pollack filled in for Gastelum against Colorado, and the results weren’t pretty.

Colorado received five kickoffs in the game, with three of them being extremely short, allowing the Buffaloes to start at their own 37, 30, and 31-yard lines.

“Josh went in there and tried, but it didn’t look good,” Rodriguez said. “You can’t make this stuff up. I wish I was.”

For a 2-8 Arizona team that dropped its seventh straight game on Saturday, has yet to win a Pac-12 game, and has suffered significant injuries all season, Gastelum’s freak injury basically sums up the team’s misfortune this season.

As Rodriguez said, it’s simply hard to believe.

But they say “always wear a helmet” for a reason, and Arizona’s special teams learned that the hard way on Saturday.