“Just Suck It Up and Win!”

Taken by Caitlin Henderson

The sports industry is an amazing place. Every second is an unpredictable one. Your amazing fantasy team? It can take a turn for the worse in seconds. A team could have a flawless season and quickly go downhill *cough cough the Carolina Panthers*. It’s important to keep in mind that these drastic changes do not occur for no reason.

Every week, players in the NFL get injured, but what most people overlook is that the injury itself is nowhere near as important as how the coach deals with it. If a player is kept in the game after a potential injury, not only does he risk further injury, but he will not play up to his full potential.  Let me think of an example of this… hmmm maybe Cam Newton?

To start off this football season, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers lost to the reigning champions, the Denver Broncos, in a Super Bowl rematch on Thursday, Sept. 8, and I was furious with the Panthers coaching staff. Newton was hit countless times by the Broncos defense, even in the head, yet the Panthers coaches did not even think to pull him out to check for a slight concussion. After the game ended, I was nervous, not just because he’s on my fantasy team, but also because a top tier player continued to get hurt throughout the game and was not pulled out. I sat in my room and thought to myself, “This was the first game of the year ; are the coaches and medics going to allow this throughout the season?”

My question was answered a few weeks later when the Pittsburgh Steelers took on the Miami Dolphins. In a loss to the Dolphins, the Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tore a meniscus… and you guessed it! He stayed in the game. Team medics claimed he could play and there was no further injury risk even though he would need surgery. But after the game, other doctors stated that with Roethlisberger’s  circumstances, he could have further injured his torn meniscus.

So what’s the point of keeping an athlete in the game even if they are injured? Short answer- there isn’t one. It is a coach’s responsibility to make sure their players are safe at all times and allowing them to play with the risk of further injury is ridiculous. This entire issue as a whole forces a reality on us whether we are ready for it or not. Even though these players may be 6 foot 6 and made of 95% muscle mass, they are NOT superhumans. They will get hurt, just like me and you.

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