Athletes Put Lives on the Line

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2009 3:25 PM CST
Willis McGahee is carried off the field on a stretcher after being hit by Ryan Clark, Jan. 18, 2009.   (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
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(Newser) – When Willis McGahee was wheeled off the field during the AFC championship game, “it was impossible not to fear the worst,” writes Wendy MacLeod in the Washington Post. And when she tried to find his status online, she turned up a YouTube video entitled, “McGahee Gets ‘Jacked Up’ … Hardest Hit Ever!” It’s hard not to conclude that “we've become like the jaded spectators who watched the gladiators in ancient Rome.”

The life expectancy of an NFL lineman is close to 52 years, more than 20 years less than the general population's, and worries over the long-term consequences of concussions are growing. "More needs to be done to keep players safe," MacLeod writes. "Even Emperor Marcus Aurelius, in order to protect the gladiators, outlawed iron blades and required that their sword points be dull."