Friday, September 14, 2007

Mid Week Post

Well, another week of training and getting ready for the season. Unfortunately, this week brought news that no player wants to hear. Kevin Everett of the NFL's Buffalo Bills had a career ending neck injury on Sunday in the US during their game with the Denver Broncos. While this has happened many times over the years, each person has been different with a different prognosis.

While many of the guys with this type of injury have walked again, many have not. The prognosis on Kevin initially was that he would never walk again, later analysis of his condition is promising. He is now moving his hands and feet voluntarily which is a good sign for him. But spinal cord damage is not something so trivial and he will likely walk but not soon.

He also will never play the game we all love again. This is just tragic for someone so young with their entire career in front of them. Of course, it makes every player think about the game and how we can play it safer. Even my team mates and coach got into the fray of this discussion this week.

Although we know that football is a rough sport, the fundamental problem comes down to a couple of issues. First, is the player ready to play? Have they trained and conditioned their body for the brutality of the game? Second, are they using proper techniques when tackling and blocking? In the case of Kevin Everett, he was using his head and he lowered it into a bad position prior to attempting to make the tackle.

This positioning and failure to maintain proper technique contributed greatly to his injury. As players, we tend to forget some fundamental teachings when we are in the heat of battle, but as coaches, we must remember to teach the players not to use their heads for anything other than a guide. That is the fundamental that, failure to adhere to the idea, most often leads to injuries. We have seen it time and time again but it continues.

For those of you reading this, keep this in mind as you practice and play the sport. At the same time, remember to say a prayer for Kevin Everett and the others like him who have suffered this type of injury. It could happen to anyone of us.