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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Injuries run amuck in the sport of football

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Sydney Richardson / The Daily Wi

Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III (33) walks onto the field in Arizona Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 3 before the Wildcats’ season opener against UTSA. Wright suffered a lateral meniscus tear in the first quarter of the game.

Every season, injuries squash the hopes and dreams of young men trying to make it on to the big stage. Left alone, injuries congest the possibilities of football championships, of winning conferences and the like.

Injuries are nothing new. Yet at the same time, injuries have plagued the game this season, in both the NFL and NCAA college football.

In the FBS Division I, there are 128 total teams. According to StatFox.com, going into week three of the college football season, 116 of the 128 total teams have substantial injuries within their program. Some players are out just a few weeks, while others are out for the season.

These stats are old news. Every year people demand that the game of football be changed. “It’s too dangerous,” they say. “I don’t want my son or daughter getting hurt.”

“That’s too many guys,” Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez said of injured players after defeating UTSA in week one. “I’m getting depressed.”

Already this season, we have seen big names go down. Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire suffered a broken ankle in week two and is out for the season. Virgina Tech quarterback Michael Brewer broke his collarbone and is out for four to eight weeks. Former ACC player of the year running back James Connor from Pittsburg tore his medial collateral ligament and is out for the season.

Let’s take a look specifically at the Arizona Wildcats. Going into their third regular season game against NAU, 11 players-—that we know of— have sustained some sort of injury, big names included.

Linebacker Scooby Wright III is out indefinitely with a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee. Receivers Trey Griffey and Tyrell Johnson are both expected to miss two to three weeks due to foot injuries.

Backup linebacker Haden Gregory is expected to miss two to four weeks due to an undisclosed injury. Linebackers Derrick Turituri, Jake Matthews and DeAndre’ Miller are all questionable against NAU. Cornerback Kwesi Mashack is also questionable with a hamstring injury.

Three Wildcats are out for the season including linebacker Cody Ippolito, tight end Trevor Wood and center Carter Wood. The injuries to the Wood brothers are huge blows to the Wildcats, especially since both were expected to start this season at their respective positions. In Carter’s case, his chronic foot injury is career-ending.

Those are the worst kind of injuries: the ones that afflict people who have worked their entire lives to make it to the highest level, only to see it all taken away.

San Francisco 49ers great Steve Young suffered seven concussions before he said it was enough. Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin suffered a cervical spinal cord injury after 11 seasons in the NFL. And who can forget Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed from the neck down in 2010 due to a spinal cord injury.

The game is dangerous; nobody can argue against that. With Arizona offense going fast, injuries are bound to catch up. At least that is what one might think.

“I call it a farce,” Rodriguez said at the PAC-12 football media days in July 2014. “If you think pace of play has anything to do with injuries, you drank the wrong poison.”

There are some commonalities among the injuries. Specifically in Arizona, take a look at Wright, Gregory and Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington. Each has suffered some sort of knee injury.

According to the NCAA, the knee is the most common location of injury, accounting for 17.1 percent of the injuries overall.

Six of the 11 players injured for the Wildcats are at the linebacker position. According to the NCAA, linebackers are injured most often in college football, accounting for 13.5 percent of all injuries.

Sure, both the NCAA and NFL have established rules to prevent injuries and have changed the pace of the game in many levels.

But if I had worked my butt off for years to play the game I love and suffered a career-ending injury, I think I might cry.


Follow Matt Wall on Twitter.


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