Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Unnecessary roughness ...

Football is a violent sport where a lot of bad crap can happen to you. Just ask Joe Theismann, whose legendary career was prematurely ended on national television when Lawrence Taylor sacked him and shattered his leg so badly that Taylor, as fearsome a player as there ever was in the NFL, was the first player on the field to wave widely for medical assistance. Or ask Darryl Stingley - or, rather, the relatives of Darryl Stingley, the New England Patriots wide receiver who was paralyzed by Jack Tatum, the Oakland Raiders defensive back (and avowed headhunter - his autobiography is called They Called Me Assassin), during an exhibition game in 1978. Stingley was left a quadriplegic by the vicious hit and would, nearly 30 years later, of complications from his injury. But both Theismann and Stingley suffered their injuries on the field of play at the hands (if you want to put it that way) of other players, and both men knew the risks of that happening. But I doubt if Patrick Edwards, a talented freshman wide receiver for the University of Houston, thought that his season, and perhaps his career, would be ended by a piece of non-football related equipment during a game.

Edwards and his Cougars were on the road against Marshall University last night when he was set on a pattern into the Marshall end zone. At full speed, he ran through the end zone and, before he could stop, collided with a band equipment cart that was parked there. The impact snapped his right leg virtually in two, a compound fracture that was captured by ESPN's cameras and may have made a few people lose their dinners (so you are duly warned):

It's not clear what, if any, recourse either Edwards or Houston can take regarding this, but you can bet your bottom dollar that this will be investigated by the NCAA or others, and that many teams will think twice before they place equipment like carts in harm's way. (If you ask me, Marshall should have to pay all of Edwards' medical bills, and perhaps the balance of his scholarship.) Meanwhile, I hope Edwards stays in college and gets his degree, just to be on the very safe side.

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