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Quit while you're ahead


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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Mike Jenkens

By Mike Jenkens
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 12, 1999
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Throughout recent weeks in the National Football League, players have been susceptible to the injury bug more than ever.

An example of this is the Arizona Cardinals, who are playing with what seems like a third-team defense.

Starting defensive end Andre Wadsworth is out indefinitely with a bum knee, starting defensive tackle Mark Smith is out for the year with torn ligaments in his knee and starting defensive tackle Eric Swann is just coming off knee surgery that allows him to play only 20 plays a game. Starting and backup cornerbacks Tom Knight and Corey Chavous have both been hindered with pulled muscles and sprained ankles. In addition to starting quarterback Jake Plummer's broken finger, the Cardinals' season looks about as promising as the Wildcats' does.

But, the most disturbing thing I saw in all of football this past week involved the Cardinals backup quarterback Dave Brown.

Late in the fourth quarter of their game against the New York Jets, Brown was sacked hard and didn't get up immediately. The training staff came out, helped him off the field and diagnosed him with a mild concussion. Third string quarterback Chris Greisen was thrown into the game for only one play before Brown re-entered the game.

What was the training staff thinking? Concussions are no laughing matter, and no matter how bad the individual player wants to re-enter the game, he should be kept on the sidelines for observation.

A concussion is basically a contusion to your brain. When you get hit in the head, your brain bounces around and, if hit hard enough, can bounce into the side of your skull producing a concussion. Numerous concussions can inhibit a person from making the same quick decisions that they made before the concussion. Concussions can damage motor skills and affect a person's train of thought.

Now, I'm not a resident expert of neurology, but I know due to past experiences that concussions have to be monitored very carefully. This issue has surfaced in the preceding weeks due to major concussions to two prominent NFL quarterbacks. Both Steve Young of the San Francisco 49ers and Troy Aikman of the Dallas Cowboys have sustained multiple serious concussions over their careers and should seriously look at their futures before making a decision to return to the sport that they so love.

Young is in serious jeopardy if he returns to the game and Aikman has suffered two mild concussions on back to back weeks. Looking at him on the sidelines, he wasn't even responding to smelling salt.

Look fellas, I know you guys love the game more than I could know, but there is a time to hang the cleats up. You have a future ahead of you after the game of football.

Please do your future families a favor and retire while you are still in good health.

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