Saturday, December 29, 2012

The phrase "career ending injury" is getting close to extinct

In the debate of whether or not a young superstar athlete should "stay in school" or "go pro," one of the main arguments for the latter was always the threat of a career ending injury.  The point being that it was a risky move to finish college and not take the money right away, on the off chance they might get hurt.  But here's the thing: I'm not really sure that's still true.  Other than the very rare example of a football player getting paralyzed, off the top of my head I can't even remember the last time something like that happened.  Not very long ago a knee twisting the wrong way had the potential to end an athlete's playing days.  But with today's medical technology and rehabbing, that is no longer the case.  They just get fixed.

Peterson has 1898 rushing yards within a year of a torn ACL.
On the final day of his college career (the 2003 Fiesta Bowl/National Championship Game) University of Miami running back and Heisman Trophy finalist Willis McGahee had his knee completely shredded.  He was still selected in the first round of the draft that season (pick #23), and has since had a very solid NFL career.  That Tom Brady guy also seems to be doing ok since he recovered from his torn ACL.  As is Wes Welker, and I'm sure Chicago Bulls point guard and NBA MVP Derrick Rose will do the same later this season.

Major league baseball pitchers now come back from having their elbows reconstructed with Tommy John Surgery all the time, the Washington Nationals Stephen Strasburg being the most recent example.  And just over a year ago the Vikings Adrian Peterson tore his ACL and MCL on December 24, 2011.  He returned this fall without even missing a single game, and tomorrow he has an outside shot to break the NFL's single season all-time rushing record.

"Career ending" injuries hardly exist anymore.  Stay in school kids.


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