Originally posted on BlackSportsOnline  |  Last updated 1/13/13
The recent decision by the Washington Redskins to keep a hobbled Robert Griffin III in their playoff game has opened up a big debate about the importance of winning versus the health of your players. Fans were incredulous at the fact that Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder couldn’t go in their playoff game because of a bruise. Then people saw the bruise and understood a little more. And don’t even mention the name Jay Cutler in this conversation. The fact that anybody questions a football players inability to go in a game is ludicrous. These guy risk permanent injury to avoid showing weakness or losing their spot. Ask Alex Smith if he would have tried harder to hide his concussion as he watched Colin Kaepernick run for 836 yards in last night’s divisional round victory. Dan LeBatard of the Miami Herald and ESPN spoke with Jason Taylor on his radio show about the lengths he went to in order to stay on the field, and the stories Taylor told are jarring. LeBatard put that conversation into a column that is well worth the read. Here is one of the more shocking excerpts, where Taylor was mere hours from losing his leg after an in game leg whip and he only missed 3 weeks. He called the trainer at 2 A.M. The trainer rushed to Taylor’s house. Taylor thought he was overreacting. The trainer told him they were immediately going to the hospital. A test kit came out. Taylor’s blood pressure was so high that the doctors thought the test kit was faulty. Another test. Same crazy numbers. Doctors demanded immediate surgery. Taylor said absolutely not, that he wanted to call his wife and his agent and the famed Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion. Andrews also recommended surgery, and fast. Taylor said, fine, he’d fly out in owner Daniel Snyder’s private jet in the morning. Andrews said that was fine but that he’d have to cut off Taylor’s leg upon arrival. Taylor thought he was joking. Andrews wasn’t. Compartment syndrome. Muscle bleeds into the cavity, causing nerve damage. Two more hours, and Taylor would have had one fewer leg. Fans later sent him supportive notes about their own compartment syndrome, many of them in wheelchairs. Taylor’s reaction? “I was mad because I had to sit out three weeks,” he says. “I was hot.” He also tells a story about playing with a PICC Line to his heart, which was basically a line from a hole under his armpit into his heart. He also mentioned that guys who are habitual visitors to the training room are looked upon as soft and his quote, “Be a Player, Not a Patient” is now on he wall in the trainers room. No wonder these players don’t want to show pain or weakness.
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