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Rob Gronkowski's retirement sparks debate on danger in football

by Christopher Suarez - Campus Talk Editor
Wed, Apr 3rd 2019 03:00 pm
pain-filled career The career of pro bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski has come to an end after only nine seasons. Gronkowski has dealt with over 10 injuries during his career and has received multiple surgeries that have slowed him down during the last couple of years. His latest injury was the forearm fracture that led to him wearing an arm brace (above) for the last three seasons.
pain-filled career The career of pro bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski has come to an end after only nine seasons. Gronkowski has dealt with over 10 injuries during his career and has received multiple surgeries that have slowed him down during the last couple of years. His latest injury was the forearm fracture that led to him wearing an arm brace (above) for the last three seasons.

The career of a football player is long and tedious. A regular football player withstands pain that few other people in this world will ever experience. The pain of getting hit by a 200-pound man in the legs or getting knocked down by a 300-pound defensive lineman is one that most won’t have to endure. That is the life of former National Football League (NFL) tight end Rob Gronkowski. 

The nine-year veteran from the University of Arizona, has seen massive amounts of success in the NFL. After getting drafted as the 42nd pick in the second round of the 2010 draft, the 6-foot-6-inch tight end has taken over the NFL. The tight end was drafted by the well-respected New England Patriots and gave quarterback Tom Brady yet another weapon to work with.

The 265-pound Gronkowski would go on to stack up 10 touchdowns and 546 yards receiving in his rookie season. He would then go on to have four 1000-yard receiving seasons and help lead the Patriots to three super bowls in nine seasons. 

But the career of Gronkowski was not easy to say the least. The tight end would go on to get injured multiple times as he slowly started feeling more and more of the effects of playing in the NFL.

According to Sports Illustrated, since 2010, Gronkowski has had two documented grade 1 concussions, a torn ACL, torn MCL, surgery for back vertebral disc hernia and a chest lung bruise. Along with those injuries, Gronkowski suffered a forearm fracture in 2013 that led to three surgeries. 

The multitude of injuries is what has led to Gronkowski retiring from the NFL at just age 29. On March 24, 2019, the five-time pro bowler announced his retirement after only nine seasons in the league. This did not come as a surprise to many; Gronkowski had hinted at retirement for two consecutive seasons, but the rumors have become a reality this off-season.    

Gronkowski’s retirement now brings up the latest argument of football being too violent. The sport has become so violent that players aren’t even reaching their thirties before retiring. Superstars like Gronkowski are now forced to give up millions of dollars in contract money to walk away from the game they’ve known and loved all their lives. Gronkowski himself has admitted that the sport has taken such a toll on his body and his mind that he cannot continue anymore. 

In an interview with NBC Sports, Gronkowski spoke about the impact that the sport has had on him. 

“The season is a grind,” Gronkowski told NBC. “It’s up and down. I’m not going to lie and sit here and say every week is the best. Not at all. You go up, you go down." 

The tight end used his big stature to dominate other smaller players. It is a difficult task to bring down the massive Gronkowski. Defenders would typically attack his legs to get him off balance, which eventually started catching up to him.

“You can take some serious hits," Gronkowski said. "To tell you the truth, just try and imagine getting hit all the time and trying to be where you want to be every day in life. It’s tough, it’s difficult. To take hits to the thigh, take hits to your head. Abusing your body isn’t what your brain wants.”

All these hits and all the injuries made it difficult for Gronkowski to function regularly outside the football field.

“When your body is abused, it can bring down your mood. You’ve got to be able deal with that, too, throughout the season. You gotta be able to deal with that in games.” 

The issue of CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, is prominent is the NFL. CTE is a brain disease that is caused by repeated hits to the head. The NFL has received multiple complaints about the danger of the sport.

In a recent study done by The New York Times, 111 NFL players had their brains examined to check for CTE. In the study, 110 of the players had CTE and only one did not. 

In my opinion, the retirement of Gronkowski is now going to spark a movement within the players. Players across the league are going to be inspired by the retirement of a future Hall of Fame tight end and realize that they should not be putting their bodies through the wear and tear that they are.

Gronkowski suffered so many injuries that he will now have to live with the pain for the rest of his life. Another career is over as the sport has once again destroyed another human body to the point where it cannot take it anymore.

 

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