2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Broncos: Wes Welker and playing football

Published: December 20, 2013, 10:48 am, by Paul Klee

In Thursday’s Gazette, colleague David Ramsey writes a column on Wes Welker and his concussions. We’ve seen a few takes with this opinion lately, none quite as thoughtful as Ramsey’s. He uses an excellent source on the matter, Broncos great Floyd Little, who knows a thing or two about getting smacked upside the head on a crossing pattern.

The opinion is that pro football players, guys who have sustained concussions, should rethink their career choice. Step away, even.

But — and you knew a but was coming — if we’re living by this school of thought, miners should quit the mines, heli skiers should take up ice skating, hurricane pilots should stop flying into hurricanes.

If you sign up to play professional football — or football at any level, really — you know what you’re getting into. You know there’s a possibility your brain gets scrambled. You know concussions are part of the deal.

It’s 2013, and the necessary information on the dangers of concussions is on the table. 

Thirty years ago? That’s different. We didn’t know then what we know now. But I have a hard time empathizing with the 2013 NFL player who complains his brain is in danger, his career choice is hazardous, or anyone who says we need more regulation on the issue. If you didn’t know football was dangerous, your brain’s already scrambled. 

My kids won’t play football. Not a chance. I’ve written many times how it’s surprising more NFL players don’t sustain more nasty injuries, the kind that paralyze them or send them into comas or otherwise alter their lives for the worse.

But if guys sign up to play this dangerous game, let ‘em do it. It’s their choice. 

Should Wes Welker continue to play for the Broncos this season? I don’t know. We aren’t privy to his concussion tests and medical records. I don’t know how bad it is. But if he’s cleared to play and wants to play, it’s his head, his life, his choice. 

Twitter: @Klee_Gazette