Friday, November 27, 2015

Adding injury to injury

It's a tough life if you are a player in the National Football League, especially for quarterbacks, who often find themselves being tossed around like sacks of flour by large men wearing different colored jerseys.

Or having their knee torn up by being rolled over by a large man wearing the same colored jersey.

Either way, it hurts to get hurt. We only get one brain, and because we are prone to conking ourselves, the brain was designed to be protected from impact by cerebral spinal fluid. But if you slam the melon hard enough, you get a concussion. That's when a blow to the head causes the brain to hit the skull.

The league has clear rules and protocols for when a player "gets his bell rung" and is staggering about on the field like your cousin Ronnie that time he was 13 and found some beer in the basement. That's how St Louis Rams quarterback Case Keenum looked in the closing minutes of Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens.

The policy is clear. Twenty or more medical staffers are paid to monitor players during games, and there is a spotter up in the press box who can stop the game, and have removed any player who needs to be checked for concussion.

So why did the Rams allow Keenum to grab his helmet (a sure sign of an aching head) and reel about woozily as the game was coming to end and they were trying to win over the Ravens?

"There is no TV replays on our sideline, and we did not see it on our Jumbotron," Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said. "Had we seen that, we would have taken a different course of action. But we were not aware of that."

So the League was holding a "mandatory conference call" the other day to holler at the athletic trainers. No one will ask Jeff Fisher to take time from his busy Grecian Formula-applying schedule to explain why he failed to replace the reeling Keenum for even one play. As it happened, Keenum was not at his best, and who knows if a substitute would have turned the ball over to Baltimore in the final minute, allowing the hapless Ravens to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat?

And as that game wound down, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco suffered a serious knee injury at the hands, or more accurately at the feet, of a teammate who rolled back over him.  Flacco finished the last several plays, putting the Ravens in position to win with a field goal, even though he had a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL).

This meant that for the first time in his career, Flacco will miss games because of injury.  That's called being short on luck (SOL).

I wish him the best, and salute his courage.  Most of us would have been calling out sick with that sort of hurting.

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