NFL Player Mocked For Retiring Due To Multiple Injuries, Unrelenting Pain And Never-Ending Rehab Work
[guest post by Dana]
[Ed. I have no interest in the sport of football, nor do I have any opinion on various teams, rankings, etc. That is not the focus of this post.]
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck announced his retirement at age 29 from professional football, citing injuries, unrelenting pain and constant rehab as motivating his decision:
Luck called it a hard decision — “the hardest of my life,” he said — but it was also a clear one. He is only 29 years old, but football has wrecked his body and stolen his joy. Over the past four years, his injuries have been brutal and relentless: shoulder sprain, torn cartilage in the ribs, partially torn abdomen, lacerated kidney, concussion, torn labrum in his right shoulder and now the calf and ankle problem that hasn’t healed.
Luck has missed a season and a half of playing time because of injuries. He awoke one morning after a game and noticed blood in his urine. He lost the entire 2017 season because of a difficult recovery from shoulder surgery…
He was back, and so was Indianapolis, which felt it had put together a Super Bowl-caliber roster for this season. Then another injury made Luck reassess everything.
“For the last four years or so, I’ve been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab — injury, pain rehab — and it’s been unceasing, unrelenting, both in-season and offseason,” Luck said Saturday night. “And I felt stuck in it, and the only way I see out is to no longer play football. It’s taken my joy of this game away.”
“I’ve been stuck in this process,” Luck said. “I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. It’s taken the joy out of this game. After 2016 when I played in pain and wasn’t regularly able to practice, I made a vow I wouldn’t go down that path again. The only way forward is to remove myself from this cycle. I came to the proverbial fork in the road and made a vow if I ever did again, I would choose me, in a sense.”
Responding to Luck’s decision was Fox Sports Radio commentator Doug Gottlieb:
Retiring cause rehabbing is “too hard” is the most millennial thing ever #AndrewLuck
— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) August 25, 2019
Wow. How the hell anyone can judge Luck for making a decision that might help break the vicious cycle of injury, unrelenting pain and rehab that he is currently stuck in? What kind of ghoul does one have to be to imply that someone is weak because they are saying enough is enough because they want to their body to be fully operational? Shaming someone for taking steps toward restoring their good health and repairing their damaged body is a terrible thing to do. And here’s the thing: we’re not talking about a situation where people’s very survival depend on Luck remaining in the NFL. For Christsake, let’s keep it in perspective: We’re talking about football. And if someone like Gottlieb thinks that Luck is obligated to voluntarily suffer for his entertainment, then Gottlieb reveals what a truly selfish bastard he is. My guess is that Gottlieb hasn’t suffered chronic injury and pain in his life, nor has he had to endure demanding, years-long rehab work. Most people won’t endure what Luck has. But there are many people who suffer unrelenting physical pain, and face the arduous task of continual rehab work. And not as a result of their own career-making decisions either. But if you asked them whether they would jump at any opportunity to be free of their suffering, do you really think they’re going to say “no”? Of course not. I have known that kind of consuming pain from similar injuries, and have known the endlessly exhausting work of physical rehab. Enduring that, day in and day out, is not an easy life. Especially in Luck’s case, where there there would be no end in sight to it if he continued to play professional football. And so my hat is off to Luck and his decision. He’s got an option to break the vicious cycle. He’d be a fool not to choose it. May God bring him his longed-for relief, and may he eventually not have to struggle to remember what it was like to live without injury and pain and rehab because he is once again experiencing life without it. There is the before, and there is the after, but being stuck in the middle of that long, dark tunnel is devastating. Thankfully, he’s now headed toward the light at the end of it. He made the smart decision.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)