Don Rutledge: Football’s good, bad hits

December 18, 2013 

Tom Sorensen’s Dec. 8 sports column “Tolbert shows human side of violent game” highlighted an act of individual, personal kindness and compassion shown on Nov. 10 by Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert, toward San Francisco 49ers’ safety, Eric Reid, with whom he collided, leaving him face down and immobile for nearly five minutes on the grass. I applaud Tolbert’s acts as selfless and sensitive, and wish there were many more such displays of humanity shown on the gridiron, where all too often one player celebrates while another lies motionless.

Recently, a star high school player spoke to reporters about being thankful for every play he is able to complete and walk away from, indicating how mindful he is of the risks he exposes his body to, how dangerous the game of football has become for even the most gifted athletes.

Tolbert deserves praise for his actions after his hard play left a player injured on the field, for as he said, “Man, I’ve been there before.” But when a high school ballplayer is constantly thinking about possible career-ending injuries before he’s made a career, something is terribly wrong.

Don Rutledge


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