Found January 03, 2012 on
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark will not play in Sunday's wild-card matchup against the Broncos because of a medical condition that is affected by Denver's high altitude.
Clark, 32, has a sickle cell trait and experienced a violent reaction when the Steelers played at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in 2007. He sat out the Steelers' regular-season game in Denver in 2009 because of the condition.
"I met with him and informed him I am not going to allow him to play in the game," head coach Mike Tomlin said, according to the team's website. "It was an easy decision for us. When looking at all of our data we came to the determination he is at more risk, so we are not going to play him. It's that simple."
Clark had a near-fatal reaction while playing in Denver in 2007. He had to be rushed to a local hospital during the game and had his spleen and gall bladder removed.
Clark could be at risk of damage to his heart or brain if he plays again in high altitude, which causes players to become fatigued faster.
Ryan Mundy will start in Clark's place at free safety alongside four-time Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu.
The Steelers will also be without starting running back Rashard Mendenhall for the entirety of the playoffs after he suffered a torn ACL in Sunday's win at Cleveland.
BEST OF MAXIM
Steelers Safety Ryan Clark, a man whom I do not know and therefore was unfortunately not able to slap this week.
I’m just going to repeat the headline.
The last time Pittsburgh Steelers Safety Ryan Clark played in Denver he lost his spleen, gallbladder and 30lbs. He could have lost his life. I swear I’m not making this up. Clark has sickle cell trait–which I also have–something...
Ryan Clark may not like missing the Steelers playoff game in Denver Sunday but it beats missing the rest of his life.
Pittsburgh Steelers safety RYAN CLARK will not play in Sunday’s AFC Wild Card tilt against the Broncos in Denver and it’s not because he is injured. It has nothing to do with a disciplinary problem, either. It’s because the game is being played in Denver.
BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark will not play Sunday against the Broncos in Denver due to a sickle cell trait condition that is exacerbated by the thin air in the Mile High City.
Safety Ryan Clark #25 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on December 19, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Karl Walter/Getty Images)
In 2007, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark suffered one of the NFL’s largest health scares of the last decade. The fallout is still being felt today.
Four years ago, playing...
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a playoff date with Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Safety Ryan Clark would figure to be a key component in stopping the highly-ranked running attack, including Tebow, of the home team. But Clark has a history at Mile High; one that very nearly cost him his career and threatened his life.
In 2007, Clark was rushed to a hospital mid...
Ryan Clark knew about the condition when the Steelers played at Denver in 2007, but was unaware of the severity of the risk of exerting himself at high altitude and landed in the hospital.
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark won't be the only NFL player in Denver on Sunday who carries the sickle-cell trait. But he'll be the only one forced to wear street clothes because of it.
Clark lost nearly 40 pounds and needed to have his spleen and gallbladder removed after playing a game in Denver in 2007, so coach Mike Tomlin ruled the 32-year-old veteran out of...
John Kark has no argument with Steelers safety Ryan Clark skipping the Broncos in an AFC wild-card playoff game in Denver.
Ryan Clark has been one of the most durable players in the Pittsburgh Steelers' secondary the past three years, but there's a decent chance he won't be allowed to suit up for Sunday's wild-card showdown against Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos despite his clean bill of health.
The Steelers have announced they will be without S Ryan Clark in their Wildcard Game against the Denver Broncos. The Steelers won’t let him play due to health risks that far outweigh on game. That means Steelers fans will be having a case of the Mundys (or Mondays if you’re an announcer) against the Broncos. [...]
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark says he didn't put up a fight when coach Mike Tomlin told Clark he couldn't play in Sunday's wild card game at Denver because of a blood condition that becomes aggravated when playing at altitude.