Jahvid Best has been saying the right things, working hard and believed that he would be cleared to return to help the Detroit Lions this year. He spoke about being cleared before training camp and again last week but it appears that Doctors and the Lions Medical Staff will not give him the go ahead to play in 2012.
Last year, after Best suffered his 3rd concussion with the Lions and 4th documented concussion in 2 years, there were rumors his family was urging him to retire and to not risk suffering another brain injury. Best brushed off those rumors and stayed committed to getting healthy and returning to the field.
However, after this latest round of testing, it may be in his best interest for his future quality of life, to indeed retire. This will be incredibly difficult for Best to do, as a young person that has worked his entire life to make the NFL and to be a good NFL player, to have to hang it up so soon.
With hundreds of former NFL players suing the league right now for hiding concussion information from them and allowing them to play with severe head trauma, it is unlikely that Best would be allowed to return to the field anyway.
It is understandable that the current NFL players and many fans view that for the small window they have to play professional sports, make outrageous money and be a hero to the cities they play in, some difficulties later in life are worth it. That even with the latest reports and data on how brain injuries are affecting these players after retirement, the current group still won’t give up.
Calvin Johnson claimed that he kept playing with a concussion against Minnesota and other players, despite knowing what can happen, have avoided trainers and medical staff and rushed back onto the field to keep playing despite the numerous documented dangers of doing so.
Most sports fans grew up playing sports and dreamed of making the NFL, NHL, MLB or NBA and would give up a lot to do so. Many would claim to give up quality of life in their later years to have had a chance to play for a few seasons in those leagues, but I think people claiming that are taking the difficulties others are suffering way too lightly.
Junior Seau tried to kill himself twice (allegedly, he never admitted so) before finally doing so earlier this year due to radical mood swings and crippling depression, brought on from all the damage his brain suffered during his career.
Bob Probert may have died of a massive heart attack in July 2010, but his brain was studied and it was concluded that his troubles through out life and later in life were due in large part to his brain being turned to mush from repeated blows.
It isn’t difficult to find a story about a professional athlete that is struggling later in life. With the NFL players that are suing the NFL, maybe they realize now that the “any cost” attitude they all played with is costing them more than they thought.
Jim McMahon is in his early 50’s and for the past decade plus, has been unable to leave his house alone because he so often forgets where he lives and who he is. All due to repeatedly playing with concussions and now he is one of the main former players suing the league.
Jahvid Best, at least the 23 year old Jahvid Best, may be willing to risk a shortened life and troubles later in life, but he shouldn’t. As much as most people would risk a lot to be a hero to many and make millions, it doesn’t seem like at 45 years old they will have the same opinion.
In a case like his, Best is risking mental instability in his late 30’s and early, early onset Alzheimer’s in his mid 40’s and a possible death by 50. Almost 30 years less than an average person. This seems like a decision that he shouldn’t be making alone and if the NFL is serious about protecting players from concussions, he shouldn’t be allowed back on a football field.