Remember when a torn ACL ranked among the most dreaded diagnoses for a pro athlete? The NFL is now filled with stars who have thrived after blowing out their knees: Rod Woodson, Jerry Rice, Tony Boselli, Priest Holmes. The NBA has has its share, too, including Derek Anderson, Baron Davis, Danny Manning and Bonzi Wells, as well as recent retiree Tim Hardaway. Hell, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios was on the ice just 95 days after reconstructive surgery. Today, the vast majority of patients who stick to their rehab programs can expect to return to their prior level of athleticism. In other words, don't fret when your favorite player ruptures an ACL. It could've been something far worse.
New York rangers center Eric Lindros, with seven documented concussions, is the latest athlete who can't get it into his head that head trauma is one injury you don't want to mess with. Wasn't the sight of former 49ers quarterback Steve Young, crumpled and unconscious in his final game before concussions forced him into retirement, sobering enough? Or the fate of former Jets wide receiver Al Toon, whose postconcussion symptoms grew so traumatic that mere daylight was unbearable? Guess not. Though blurred vision, prolonged dizziness and even death can result from too many concussions, many players will never admit they've suffered one. They believe they've faced tougher obstacles. They may not know, until much later in life, how wrong they are.