This started as a comment on the sad, sad news about Austin Box, and Sam suggested I fanpost to broaden the discussion. In reply to that comment Bustersbest said the following:
"I do not find it appropriate to judge whether or not he died of an addiction to drugs.
I have meet this guy several of times heard about his life. I do not think he overdosed on purpose. He had major back problems that could have kept him out for the season. Accidental overdoses happen fairly often"
Apparently I did not make myself clear, so let me try this. I do not know how Austin Box died, but as far as I'm concerned it is a tragic situation regardless of the circumstances.
This sad news got me to thinking about how I as a fan place certain expectations on players for my favorite tem and I think those expectations are wrong. After the jump, I'll get into the point I was trying to make without reference to Mr. Box.
Does anyone else remember Brett Favre way back when he got addicted to pain killers because of pressure (whether internal or external) to get back on the field after getting “dinged up”. That's how we all got to know of him as the "Iron Man" of football. His streak of Consecutive Starts is his legacy and ticket into the hall of fame despite all the shenanigans at the end of his career.
On the other hand I give the example of Kendall Hunter’s 09 season when he missed a TON of action because of a blown tire. Seemed like that injury lasted for ever and ever, and some grumbled (myself included) that maybe his toughness wasn’t up to iron man Brett Favre standards. But Hunter, to my knowledge has never abused pain killers either. Suddenly, I feel like a selfish D-bag for wanting Hunter to rush back on the field to help a team I never played for. At the time I would have loved to see Hunter take a pill or a shot and help Ok-State get a 10th win that season. But what if he did, and it never heals all that well? What would his 2010 season have been like? Hindsight being what it is I'd say it all worked out .
Do we all want too much of these guys coming off of injuries? Do coaches, teammates, or the players themselves put so much pressure on injured guys to return that the pain killer usage is out of control? Seems like the doctors clear a guy to play regardless of pain as long as he isn't at risk for permanent injury. They give them all the pain killers they need to get back on the field and be Iron Men.
I may be crazy to think this might be a systemic problem, but maybe not. What do all of you think? Am I crazy, or do you think it’s possible that maybe athletes are getting too much pain medication too easily? Does the legacy of Iron Man Brett Favre encourage reckless use of habit forming prescription drugs?
Bottom line for me is that from now on I will not be the least bit concerned with how long it takes a guy to retutn from injury. I hope they take their time and get themselves right. I will, however, still call for the firing of any Offensive Coordinator who only calls 13 rushing plays in Bedlam. You've been warned Joey Gladstone.