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Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has suffered a massive set back that will keep him out indefinitely.
Last week, he fractured his neck in a single-car crash. The early diagnosis seems to be he may miss the entire 2019-2020 season. However, more reports have suggested he could miss up to 5-6 months.
Pierre-Paul has not been the luckiest guy since arriving in the NFL. In 2013, he suffered from a herniated disk. Though he played opening day, he finished the season with only two sacks. On July 4, 2015, he suffered a serious hand injury which led to amputation of his right index finger.
Neck injuries have plagued athletes in the game of football to the point it’s caused some to retire early. Perhaps the most recognized is former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Sterling Sharpe who was on pace for a Hall of Fame career before suffering a neck injury that would ultimately cost him his career.
Another injury that relates is that of former Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions linebacker Chris Spielman who suffered a neck injury that limited him in the 1997 season. Following a year off, he tried to comeback for the Cleveland Browns before suffering another neck injury that forced his retirement following the 1999 season.
However, it’s always a possible a situation like Peyton Manning’s injury can happen.
Following a serious spine injury in 2011, Manning left the Indianapolis Colts and signed with the Denver Broncos, where he would have two sensational years including a trip to the Super Bowl. Eventually father time caught up but not before winning a Super Bowl in his final season.
Going forward, Pierre-Paul will need to consider the following. First, how does he feel after the surgery. There’s no chance to really avoid it, he’s going to have to go under the knife. If he feels like he can go further, than let him, but keep him controlled.
Next, he’s going to have to re-evaluate his age. He may be 30-years old but when an athlete suffers a back or neck injury, it stays with them for a while and can either re-emerge or affect their production.
And third, can he still produce. If he’s struggling, most athletes are humble enough to put the team before their needs. This is going to be hard for Pierre-Paul but as many have seen, anything is possible in the wild world of sports.