The quarterback steps back, looking for a teammate to throw to and looks at all his options. Then opts to run down the field and slides to the ground. Out of nowhere, a defensive player collides helmet-to-helmet. Training staff members rush to the QB who lies motionless on the ground and a flag is thrown.
This is the norm and the NFL are addressing it. Players are at risk of getting a concussion and most of the time it’s the offensive players but they can happen to anyone. In this NFL season, Andrew Luck retired two weeks before the regular season to the dismay of not only Indianapolis Colts fans but fantasy owners who drafted him.
He was looking out for himself and in the last five year, four players have retired for the same reason. ESPN showed a statistic explaining that tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, and line backers Luke Kuechly and Patrick Willis are all players in the NFL who retired by 30 years old.
According to the New York Times, Johnson was forced to repay the Detroit Lions $1 million of his signing bonus. NFL players are willing to give up the money and sacrifice their dreams to preserve their shelf life. Outside of the NFL, WWE superstars, NHL players and athletes overall are all in danger of getting a concussion.
Sports is a competition on both an individual and group level but many players at the top of the game are choosing to end their career because they are one collision, fall or accident away from getting seriously hurt.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is defined as a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma. The degenerative disease has been around since the 1920s, in the sport where the biggest blows occur.
What sport? Boxing. MMA and UFC are faced with this dilemma too. I suppose two people punching, kicking and choking each other to gain the victory is a productive way to determine who is the better athlete, right?
This problem is at the center of sports and forces players to retire early and move on to a life where their family is their first priority.
Coming full circle to the NFL, Roger Goodell and his minions/staff need to focus on the real issue which is the safety of their players.
American football doesn’t look to be going away any time soon but parents aren’t going to let their kids play because the game is becoming dangerous.
There is always the other option, which is playing golf or if you’re Gronkowski, cheerleading.
Welcome to American sports, where the refs are at fault for the outcome of games, and continuing play is more important than tending to the athlete who is on the ground and cannot get up.
Header photo: At left, in a Jan. 30, 2019, file photo, New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski speaks with members of the media during a news conference in Atlanta. At center, in an Aug. 24, 2019, file photo, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck speaks during a news conference following the team’s NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, in Indianapolis. At right, in an Aug. 2, 2019, file photo, Carolina Panthers’ Luke Kuechly watches teammates warm up at training camp in Charlotte, N.C. Life in the NFL is short. The recent retirements of three of the game’s best 30-and-under stars — Gronkowski, Luck and Kuechly — could be coincidence or the start of a worrisome trend. (AP Photo/File)