individual stories

Would You Take This Job?


Would you take a job where you knew that your career was likely to last about three years, at the end of which you’d almost certainly have had at least one serious injury, probably requiring surgery, that it would be very likely that you’d live in pain the rest of your life, and that you’d have a good chance of having permanent brain damage?

Yes, you know what we’re talking about – pro football. A Washington Post survey shows that 90% of ex NFL players suffer aches and pains on a daily basis. “Former offensive lineman Pete Kendall told the Post: ‘ “I can’t run anymore. I can’t play basketball with my kids, can’t walk for any extended distance.” Kendall is 39 years old.’

The report says that 90% say they’re glad they played pro-ball but fewer than half say they’d recommend it to their kids. And according to the video, fewer than a third say they got good medical care while they were playing, and most said that they had no choice but to go out and “play through pain.”

It seems to this writer that that is the reason why there is so much propaganda associated with football – all the hoopla about “playing through pain”, being a “warrior”, etc. Because it’s unnatural for people to subject themselves to this pain.

On a personal note: I worked as a carpenter before I retired. On one job there was this carpenter who was just aggressive and unpleasant. I always just avoided him, but at one point they put us as partners. That first day I got to talking with a third carpenter in this guy’s presence. This third guy commented on how overpaid pro football players were. “No matter how much they get paid, it’s not enough,” was my reply. Then I commented on the injuries. This other carpenter just looked intensely at me. After we were alone, he said, “hey, John, I want to show you something.” He pulled up his pants leg to show me this humongous scar running on the inside of his leg from his lower calf up to his thigh. He explained: He’d been a pro defensive back for the Eagles (I think it was). After two and a half years he had a serious knee injury and that was the end of his career. “My leg still hurts me,” he said. “Maybe you’ve noticed that I’m in a bad mood in the mornings sometimes,” he continued. (“Bad mood?” I thought. I’d seen him try to pick a fight in the mornings.) “That’s because my leg hurts me so bad at night that sometimes I can’t sleep.”

So, basically he’d worked six to eight years for free (high school and college) for a three year career that left him in pain and struggling to exist as a carpenter the rest of his life.

see the video here

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