Far too many football fans have grown numb over the years to the very real physical toll that life in the NFL inflicts on the men who participate in the sport.
“So-and-so had surgery. It was a success. And he’s already ahead of schedule in his rehab efforts.”
It’s not nearly that simple for the people who find their bodies invaded by surgical tools, repaired, and closed up again. From risk of infection to other complications in the recovery process to the pain and discomfort that often entails the use of potent narcotics to an arduous rehab process that can consume months, it’s a difficult aspect of football that happens to dozens of players every year.
While serious injuries don’t happen on a regular basis, they happen often enough that every player who steps onto a football field accepts the very real risk that they won’t be stepping off the field without partial or complete assistance. Consider the case of Texans right tackle Derek Newton. He’ll spend WEEKS in a wheelchair after rupturing both patella tendons on Monday night, and that’s just the beginning.
From a wheelchair to crutches to learning how to walk to learning how to run to trying to once again have a normal life long before the question of whether he can play football again will even be remotely relevant.
“He gets paid millions,” some will say with a shrug. Sure, he does. But his ability to continue to be paid those millions is now in jeopardy.
Besides, he’s about to go through a major hardship in an effort to recover from his injuries. How many would take the money if doing so meant dealing with a pair of ruptured patella tendons at the same time?
Even if you truly would, the risks and realities of injuries bad enough to require surgery should never be disregarded when “next man up” causes fans and media to treat the last guy in as out of sight and out of mind.