Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bruschi Should Only Play If He Can Give 100% Effort

Well, the doctors have cleared him -- many of them, apparently, so I guess what more can you ask for? And he will be at practice this week with his New England Patriots teammates, so I suppose there isn't much else to do other than to accept it and hope for the best.

Tedy Bruschi, the Pats' Pro Bowl linebacker, who may one day be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has been cleared by a boatload of doctors to resume his football playing career. It was Bruschi, you recall, who suffered a mild stroke back in February.

Bruschi wants a fourth ring, but at what cost?

I've said it before in this blog, and I'll say it again: I still think "mild stroke" is an oxymoron. How the hell can there be anything minor about a stroke? You know, blood flow to the brain, all that jazz? Yet the doctors say it's okay to play again, and Bruschi, who made a wonderful decision to not attend training camp, was like a wild horse released from the pen.

Whether Tedy Bruschi can still play with the all-out, full throttle intensity that he could prior to his episode, only time will tell. Football is not a game to be played at 3/4 speed -- not even 7/8. It's a 100%, no-holds-barred free-for-all out there every Sunday, and as soon as you start thinking about how it may affect your health, you are at an immediate disadvantage -- physically and mentally.

I certainly am in no place to pass judgement on Bruschi's decision to suit up. After all, if the brightest medical minds say go for it, then who am I to say that I, too, wouldn't rejoin my teammates on the field? But I also think there would be a tiny piece of me that would be saying, "Greg, you had a stroke. What the hell are you doing playing football?"

But the decision is Bruschi's and Bruschi's alone -- though I'm sure his wife had something to say about it. Regardless, he's coming back, and from a pure football perspective, the Patriots could use him. The defending champs are 3-3, banged up, and looking very pedestrian nowadays.

There's an old saying about great players: "75% of (fill in the blank) is better than 100% of most other guys."

But playing at 75% -- mentally or physically -- can be self-destructive, especially in the violent world of pro football. I hope Tedy Bruschi remembers that when he squares himself for his first big hit.

1 comment:

dolphinfan said...

I wonder how much New England's record has to do with Bruschi's comeback?