Walking it off may not really be the wisest idea

Nathan Miller

Miller Lite Man Law: “All injuries are treatable by walking it off or rubbing some dirt on it. Good Call.”

Yes indeed, good call, they are so right. I knew Ben Roethlisberger did the right thing playing against the Raiders a week after his concussion.

Concussions are not a big deal. They’re just like drinking through Sunday instead of stopping on Saturday. If you ask me, Trent Green should have started weeks ago. I believe Miller Lite’s term for him would be “wussified.”

But he’s very, very smart for being “wussified.” A matter of fact, he may be the only smart player in the NFL left. Concussions are the farthest thing away from the walk-it-off solution. They have ended the careers of NFL stars like Steve Young and Troy Aikman. A recent study found 10 percent of NFL retirees have some medical disability because of concussions.

But Nate, who cares? They get paid the big bucks, it’s their fault that they don’t take advantage of the big surgeons they can pay for, for medical help, right?

Well maybe, but that doesn’t take away from the fact it’s destroying these guys’ lives, while also having a major trickle down effect on youth sports, particularly high school.

I’ve always been a major fan of high school football, just because I truly believe the only thing on the line is who has the bigger heart, you or the other guy or gal across the field from you. But sometimes that heart is too big for the physical and mental part of your body to handle.

Fractured hand – tape it up, go back in. Dislocated shoulder – strap it in, go back in. Ankle fracture – air cast it, go back in. Head injury – make sure you don’t confuse your coach with your mama, slap yourself in the face a couple times, go back in.

Why do we do it? To help our team out, to make one more big play, to step on the field one more time. To look up at the scoreboard and just know for that one moment no one can touch you. To prove I have the bigger heart. All the while sidelining us further from the game, our sports career and our lives.

I’ve done it, seen it and heard about it. And don’t think for one second that there are not coaches out there who condone this. This is, after all, what makes us “the athlete.” I’ve even seen a coach go as far as to tell the players that nobody hurt would leave the field unless it was on an ambulance. That coach got to see that happen a few times, including one player being admitted to a hospital for a week.

What does this have to do with the NFL? Perhaps nothing, but I think it makes players’ and coaches’ decision to return to the field before being adequate to walk a straight line a lot easier when a multimillion dollar organization allows for it to happen at their level.

I’m sure the NFL will have a uniform policy on what procedures a player who suffers a concussion has to go through before returning once someone dies in actual game play from brain complications. But that shouldn’t have to happen when it’s right in front of their eyes, and I pray the NFL Players’ Association starts worrying about their health instead of their contracts.

As for high school, perhaps the Kansas High School Activity Association should require physicians on both sidelines and give them the power to have referees stop game play and pull injured players off the field.

The next time you burn your eyes from a cappuccino machine, instead of rubbing dirt in it like Peyton Manning suggests in a credit card commercial, buy some Visine, (No, I don’t have a Ph.D.), and call a doctor.