“By this, he seemed to mean, not only that the most reliable and useful courage was that which arises from the fair estimation of the encountered peril, but that an utterly fearless man is a far more dangerous comrade than a coward.” — Herman Melville, “Moby Dick”
Lying there face first in the sloppy Fed Ex Field turf, crumbled over after his right knee bent inward like a piece of silly putty, one thought likely raced through Robert Griffin III’s head more than any other.
Three and a half years after shredding the anterior cruciate ligament in the same knee during a non-contact injury against Northwestern State, the former Copperas Cove and Baylor star quarterback suffered another devastating injury.
And much like the first time, Griffin III went right back out there onto the field for the very next play. Only this time, in the midst of the Washington Redskins’ wild card playoff game against Seattle, no one was there to sit him at halftime like the Baylor training staff, even going so far as to take and hide his helmet so Griffin couldn’t sneak back onto the field.
Griffin III’s brazen machismo mentality propelled him to continue to play despite clear indications that he was hurt and favoring his right knee after falling down late in the first quarter.
But was Griffin’s warrior-like, continue-on-at-all-costs mentality really the right one to take for one of the NFL’s budding stars?
Only time will tell in Griffin’s case.
On Wednesday, Griffin underwent a complete knee reconstruction, repairing both a newly torn lateral collateral ligament and re-repairing his original ACL surgery from 2009.
The procedure, performed by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews — who also serves as the Redskins physician — was deemed a success and Griffin is expected to make a full recovery in six to eight months and be ready for the start of the 2013 season.
It could have been worse. After watching his right knee fold and bend in ways it shouldn’t, many around the country wondered if the dynamic former Bulldawg who’s taken the nation’s capital by storm would ever be the same player again. We’ll have to wait and see.
With today’s modern miracles of science and rehabilitation techniques, knee injuries aren’t as career-defining as they used to be. Minnesota Vikings all-everything running back Adrian Peterson proved that by nearly breaking Eric Dickerson’s all-time single season rushing record less than a year removed from shredding his knee.
But Griffin’s situation could have been avoided with a little foresight and acceptance of limitations.
That was certainly not the case with Harker Heights swimmer Nick Meyer.
The 16-year-old faced an even bigger question regarding his future when he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as a freshman in 2011.
Meyer seemed at peace in the water, where he could cut through a pool with surgeon-like precision. But it wasn’t until the thin-framed Knight saw himself deteriorating from the illness — weighting just 70 pounds at one point — that Meyer and his family sought help.
It’s taken him nearly a year to recover, but Meyer is back where he belongs — in the pool swimming.
Debilitating diseases aren’t something that can easily be avoided, they just happen, but Griffin’s knee injury could have been if he’d just accepted the reality that he wasn’t in peak condition rather than continually race head-first into battle.
The warrior mentality has its place, especially in football, but there’s a point where everyone must step back and realize their own limitations before they end up sprawled on the turf in agony.