The Washington Redskins decision to start Robert Griffin III next Monday night in the season opener raises serious red flags. Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan has expressed “concerns” as recently as last Thursday. His surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, has also expressed concerns over the last week. Both signed off on his return today and as a result, he will start against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Both cleared Robert to play after carefully evaluating his condition. They are both experts in their respective fields. Shanahan as an NFL coach, and Dr. Andrews as a nationally renowned surgeon for many elite athletes. Their decision has to be respected, given their experience, knowledge, and credibility.
“100%” Cleared to Play
Athletes want to play, period. Robert is a fierce competitor and is paid millions of dollars to be the “Face of the Redskins.” He will present himself as ready to play because it is his nature as an athlete to be “ready to go” on opening day.
It has been said that after consulting with Robert, all concerns have been addressed. His clearance most likely follows the traditional “100%” ready-to-play requirement of injured athletes before returning from a severe sports-related injury. This addresses the stability of his knee, flexibility, range of motion, ability to run, cut, jump, backpedal, and all of the other things required of Robert in the Redskins uptempo offense.
This “100%” definition does not take into account the mental and emotional trauma Robert has suffered during each of his three knee injuries. Robert suffered a torn ACL while at Baylor University, a strained ACL last regular season, and completely tore the ACL in a playoff game in January of this year.
With each injury, Robert suffers intense physical pain, followed by the pain of surgery and rehab. He also suffers mentally and emotionally. The brain springs into action to compartmentalize this cauldron of physical pain, horrific mental images, and the intense emotions and sensations that are surging through his body, brain, and nervous system as he is injured. This process continues while he is carried off the field, diagnosed, prepares for surgery, and works his way through the rehab process. [Read more…]