10 Years. More money than most of us will make in a lifetime. Famous, beloved by millions in their home city. Can literally make a living by signing his name a few times a day or showing up to give a talk on sportmanship or the like.
Yes, the pain is a bad thing. But NFL Player is hardly the only career choice that results in pain in your old age. Plenty of non-famous, non-rich, non-retired-at-35 careers give just as much, if not more, pain in your late 50's and 60's.
I'm a big supporter of the NFL providing healthcare fo rit's players post-retirement. For them, it;s as easy, affordable, right thing to do.
What I'm not for is putting these rich, famous, beloved former players on some kind of martyr pedestal where we'll all going to go "awwwww" and cry tears over them post-career kneee pain.
You know whose pain I would cry for. The steel worker who build the Verazanno Narrows Bridge for a few bucks a day, and lived the last years of his life in pain from those years of working steel.
Not sure if you know any X NFL players from the 70s. I do and have met many.
Most NEVER made more than 100K or so.... Joe Delamiellere for example. Lives in Charlotte and is a regular guy with a regular job. lives in a modest neighborhood. I would imagine his income is quite low.
For him..this changed when he was inducted into the HOF. NOW, he gets speaking gigs but he is one in a million.
Players from the 70s made next to nothing, have small pensions, etc.
it's unbelievable what these guys are going through. it's crazy that they have to sue the NFL to try to get help, while they made some money, it is nothing like the current players of their caliber make today. i'm glad the NFL is doing what it can to protect the current players, but it needs to take care of the players that MADE the league into the billion dollar industry that it has become. with out the "old timers" the league would be worthless. ALL of the pro sports need to recognize their former stars for more than the statistics that they achieved on the field, but also for the sacrifices they have paid with their minds and bodies.
"The desperate prayer often escapes Wesley Walker’s lips in the dead of night.
When the pain grows intolerable, he sits alone in the dark watching movies, passing the sleepless hours that plague him almost daily.
“I’ve sat in bed, praying ‘Jesus, God, would you make the pain go away?’ ” said the 57-year-old Walker. “I just don’t want to go through this anymore. I would give anything just for a day not to have this happen.”
The former Jets Pro Bowl receiver has been unable to feel his feet for 25 years and suffers from “constant, wrenching” pain running up his arms and deep inside his hands — which now shake — caused by nerve damage.
This is life for Walker, and many of his former colleagues. While tens of millions of fans are focused on Sunday’s Super Bowl, Jets and Giants once at the center of attention deal quietly with illnesses such as Walker’s..."
Wesley has been working as a PE teacher at Kings Park High School for the past 14 years or so. I'm sure he has full medical benefits, just wondering how he's able to do a physically demanding job like that all this time, when he's making himself out to be Totally Disabled. Unless the teachers are not covered for pre-existing injuries with their medical, which I highly doubt knowing the Teachers Union out here.
Sometimes you don't need a scientific study to confirm what common sense already knows. Playing football and getting into the equivalent of a car accident every weekend for 20 years is going to have a long term effect.
Heck anyone who watches boxing knows the effects of repeated blows to the head after watching match after match. The medical profession knew about punch drunk boxers for decades.
The bottom-line is that at the high school, college and professional level, additional safety and education is required.
BUT...football players, despite the risk, have had alot more benefits than the rest of society. Beginning at the high school level where they are put on a pedestal by their peer groups; to 4-year free ride scholarships at college with better dorms, cafeterias, etc, than their peers; to football contracts that at a a minimum consistently pay 3+ times more than the annual salary considered great in benefit in society ($100K per year).
Does any of that help deal where they are today? Maybe, but it depends upon the situation. Football was a choice of employment much like a coal miner or steel worker or soldier or cop. There are inherent risks to playing football, but the allure of benefits far outweigh and motivate those talented enough to make the jump to the NFL. Additionally, those benefits DWARF those made by others in high risk employment groups that provide a far greater public service than the weekly entertainment provided by football.
None of this means we can't empathize with the plight of former football players. That being said, for every example of a player who maximized his opportunity to get a degree, save the substantial money accrued by making football, and parlayed that into a successful post-NFL career, there are multiple examples of players who screwed up by poor decision making.
No one wants to see anyone injured or hurt. However, I have no sympathy for the football player who skated by in college, got a sham degree, and had trouble finding employment. Had they had something tangible to fall back on, they might not have needed to play that additional 2-3 more years where alot of damage resulted.
These guys knew the risks of their body taking the hits. The article said "Walker took hits in 1986 and 1989 that left him temporarily paralyzed — and are responsible for much of his pain and weakness."
Unfortunately these things happen, but nobody forced them to play the game - and quite frankly there will be MORE injuries like this, and MORE severe injuries, in the coming years because of the league making this a passing game, letting receivers and running backs get jacked up all the time. The league was safer back in the bump and run days. Truth.