As more and more players are suing the league for head injuries while playing in the NFL, one of the league’s highest-profile players shrugs at a chronic neck problem.
Per the Associated Press, Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware said Wednesday that he still experiences occasional “stingers” after a scary neck injury suffered in December 2009. Specifically, he gets a tingling sensation in his arm, and it will remain numb for a couple of minutes after contact.
“Then I’ll have all my strength, and it’s like all right, wait a little while, and go back out there and keep playing,” Ware said. “But sometimes that can take away from maybe one play or a big play you can make, or two plays in the game where it’s key situation when you know you’re wanting to be out there and playing.”
Ware missed a practice last week, and the Cowboys said he had a strained neck. Ware disclosed Wednesday he was undergoing X-rays and other “precautionary” tests.
“I’m not worried about it,” Ware said. “Really just make sure everything is all right and checking up and making sure it doesn’t happen this year. You never can be 100 percent saying it’s not going to happen when you’re out there playing aggressive, but you’ve got to take the precautionary things in the offseason to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, and that’s what I was doing.”
To minimize the stingers, Ware has been fitted with new shoulder and neck pads. But he’s pragmatic about the future.
“I think about long-term health all the time, because you know with football, your body takes a bruising and just got to get out there and just play anyway,” Ware said. “When your body tells you you can’t play anymore, that’s when you’ve got to stop and just can’t keep doing it.”
He’s right. Still, the body rarely just shuts down when it’s time for an athletic career to end. The stingers are signs that something isn’t right, and Ware needs to be concerned about this string of minor injuries, because they could be a warning that a bigger injury is coming.