Monday, December 22, 2008

Jerome Bettis and the pain of the NFL

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers

Today is Monday, and its the day when every player who was on the field on Sunday receives "treatment," which is basically short for trying to get out of bed, and then having a doctor examine your injuries. The player who I have the most vivid memory of is Jerome Bettis who a long time ago had an interview in his final season with Pam Oliver where they showed him hardly able to walk after a game. In his book Bettis goes even deeper into his agony:
"Saturdays weren't any fun, though. Even with the limited practice schedule, my knee would swell. So every Saturday a team doctor would come in and drain the knee. The needle was as long and thick as a No. 2 pencil. Think about that for a minute. Then the doctor would extract all sorts of pus, blood, and little pieces of cartilage."

"I let USA Today's Jarrett Bell, whom I've known for a long time, use me as a centerpiece for a story he was doing on the toll an NFL season takes on your body. He saw it all. My purple ankle. My bruised butt. The red welts on my back. The scars. The scratches and gashes on my arms and legs. The torn tendons in my thumbs. The ring finger that is missing a chunk of flesh.

He saw me try to get out of bed that morning. It took forever. I told him that sometimes I couldn't walk down the stairs in my house. Instead, I had to sit on the top step and very, very slowly slide my way down on my butt. This was the life I had chosen, so I wasn't about to complain."
[ via ESPN ]

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