Football is a violent sport, and that’s the way it should be. I’ve played football for the past 11 years, and now I’m done. Over the course of my playing career, I’ve picked up my share of nicks, bumps, and bruises. Contusions were in abundance, and I was usually bleeding from somewhere by the time a game was over. It was great.
(No, I didn’t get hurt on this play. It was most exhilarating!)
This past year, though, I picked up some more severe hurts and injuries. In fact, this past year was the first time I’d ever been injured in a game, and it was a doozy. But it was totally worth it!
So, to get an idea of what football can do to you, here are a few pictures of some of my more…severe injuries.
(Warning. This isn’t pretty.)
Okay, I’ll start off with something neutral. This isn’t so bad, just a big bruise on my arm (and a faint scar). The scar came when I got sliced with a facemask, and the bruise came from the same facemask. Didn’t really feel much. Pretty shade of purple wouldn’t you say?
Okay, this next one will be a little more gruesome, but still not too bad…
Here, I got the tip of my ring finger sliced off. The culprit: another darn facemask. Haha! The finger itself also got jammed, so it swelled up and went a little purple. I don’t know exactly how this one happened. I went to block a guy, and somehow my finger lodged in his facemask, and the tip got cut off. I was wearing receiver gloves too when it happened, and fabric wasn’t ripped or cut, so I don’t know why my finger ended up this way. This one hurt a lot. Finger tips are very sensitive. Lots of nerve endings, so slicing through those don’t feel very good. I kept playing though. I knew something was wrong when blood started dripping out of my glove. So then I ran over to the training staff and got a bandaid. Then I jumped back into the action. Continuing to block people and catch passes was very, very, uncomfortable from that moment on. It healed….a few weeks later about.
Next injury. This one is just plain ugly.
(Can you tell what’s wrong with this picture?)
So, what happened here was, as you can see, I got a black-eye. This happened back in the summer. We were playing one-on-one, receiver versus defender. I was defending a receiver, and when I ran up to knock the ball away from him, my brow hit the back of his head. We weren’t wearing helmets because drills were supposed to be “non-contact.” But yeah, I banged into him. I felt a little sting in my eye-brow region, and that was it. I didn’t know anything was wrong until I couldn’t see anymore out of my right eye, and my teammates started screaming (Yes, a bunch of football players screaming and backing away from me because of my appearance. It was that bad. Pictures don’t do it justice). But yeah, not very painful. It was swollen for about…a really long time. Haha! But most of it was gone in about 4 weeks, and the purple/black bruising went away in about 6-7.
Now, the big one.
This one is actually what you would call, an “injury.”
Yeah, this one was pretty bad. I tore my ACL, Patella tendon, and obliterated my Lateral Meniscus. This happened when I was jumping to catch a pass. I came down on one leg and got hit by two defenders at the same time. My upper body got twisted and bent back, putting all the stress on my knee. It hurt really bad for a couple seconds. Basically felt like a burning, buzzing kind of pain. My first thought was, “No! I dropped the football!” My second thought was, “I hope I didn’t tear anything.” But then the pain went away, and I figured I was fine. I was dreading going back to the sideline because I had just dropped the ball.
Well it turned out I did tear something. A lot of something. I tried to walk off the field, but I couldn’t put any weight on my right leg. It was just flopping around, not supporting anything. Then the trainer made me sit down. And when I took a seat on the turf, I knew that was the last play of football I would ever play.
This injury has yet to fully heal. I was on crutches for about 3 and a half months. I can walk and jog again, and I have 6-8 weeks left of physical therapy. The knee will never be quite the same, and I may still need one or two more surgeries (I’ve already had two) before it’s all said and done, but I should eventually get back pretty close to normal.
Here is footage of the actual play. I’m the receiver to the top of the screen, closed to the QB. I’m in black, and it is my right knee that gets injured.
And so, football is a dangerous sport. Today, people keep trying to change the rules to make the game “safer,” but what they are really doing is ruining the greatest sport on earth. Football is a dangerous sport. That’s part of the game. That’s what makes football, football. If you don’t want to get injured, then don’t play. If you’re willing to get injured, then you can play. It’s as simple as that. I knew the risks, and I got injured. Do I think the rules should change? Absolutely not!
Keep football the way it is. You’re meant to get a little banged up.