The last time safety Ryan Clark played a football game in Denver, he became nearly deathly ill because of how his blood and sickle-cell trait reacted to playing in the thin air.
Clark lost 30 pounds, had his spleen and gall bladder removed, then missed half of the 2007 season.
Clark and the Steelers head to Denver after their bye, and Clark is more than understandably cautious about playing there again. Doctors have cleared Clark to play, but a final decision has yet to be made about his status.
“I think kind of the competitor in me, the ego of a football player,
it’s not so much I want to go beat the Broncos, as I would like to come
back fully from a situation that brught me near death and kind of
conquer playing in a place that made me ill in that kind of way,” Clark said this week, before noting that he has a family and career to worry about.
Doctors have apparently cleared him, but Clark needs to hear more.
“I mean, you can hear certain things, they can put papers in front
of you and tests in front of you, but until you’re completely
comfortable with what you’re hearing, it’s going to be a tough decision,” Clark said. “And right now I haven’t taken in enough information to make a decision either way.”
Clark sacrifices his body every week for the Steelers. The last time they were in Denver he nearly sacrificed a lot more. The organization should do him a favor and simply make the decision for him.