“It’s Time!”

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm

As a child, I remember the courage one Roy Lee “Chucky” Mullins exhibited. Chucky Mullins, former University of Mississippi defensive back, #38 was a hero in my household. Never before had I seen an injury of that magnitude, nor did I ever care to see another paralyzed from a hit on the gridiron. Chucky fought back, to smile, to inspire his teammates at the Liberty Bowl two months later, “It’s time!” As Coach Billy Brewer later said, “Air Force didn’t have a chance.” Mullins passed away in May 1991 almost 2 years after the injury.

It’s time. The NFL has taken on that mantra in a way. It’s time to preserve the lives of those who risk their lives for my enjoyment. The NFL has instituted a new rule–if a ball carrier’s helmet comes off during the play, the play is immediately blown dead. Since 1989, since Chucky’s vicious hit on Vanderbilt’s fullback Brad Gaines, football at all levels have become more violent and life that much more fragile. On Saturday we were again reminded of the dangers of this sport. Rutgers reserve Defensive Tackle and special teams player Eric LeGrand suffered a debilitating injury. An injury, that for now, has left him paralyzed from the neck down. I couldn’t help but feel those empty, hollow feelings I did as a child when I saw Chucky’s injury.

We love the impact, the collisions; we glory in one Maurice Jones-Drew scoring a touchdown helmetless. Or what about, some years ago, Jason Witten picking up extra yards after the catch with no helmet? We love it; it’s thrilling, and yet let’s not forget, they too are human; they’re bodies are bruised and what will happen to them after their playing careers?

Let’s hope that LeGrand can recover, walk again. May he exhibit the courage and have the support that Chucky had.


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