The National Football League mandated that all players are to wear knee and thigh pads starting this year. Naturally, there are already some NFL players that don’t like the new equipment rule.
For years many wide receivers and cornerbacks have been playing without knee and thigh pads. Considering how violent the game of football is, you would think that any piece of equipment would help. According to the Washington Post, some players don’t see it that way.
“Guys are complaining … especially the older guys,” wide receiver Donte Stallworth said at the Washington Redskins’ training camp. “We’ve been in this game so long. I mean, if we personally felt like those pads would help us, we’d have been wearing them. Guys would have been wearing them for decades. They haven’t. So I don’t think it makes a difference from a protection standpoint. I don’t see the use of it. But like I said, it’s a rule we’ve got to abide by. So either you wear them and you comply or you don’t wear them and you get fined. It’s your decision.”
Those comments are the very reason why knee and thigh pads are being mandated. Players don’t get that it’s about their long term health.
Many retired players today have already had dozens of knee surgeries to try and repair the damage that was done to them over time. The reason is that cartilage and other tissue in the knee does not regenerate or repair because there are no blood vessels in the knee. In other words when you damage your knee you either have surgery to repair it or replace it all together.
I learned this from a doctor who takes care of professional athletes here in Buffalo, NY, after going to his practice for my own knee pain.
Of course there are still going to be injuries because football is a violent sport. What the equipment rule does is minimize the damage to the knees and legs when they hit the ground. The best way to describe this is the similarity to an airbag.
When you’re behind the wheel, and in a car accident, your airbag deploys. Now, you can still suffer injuries from smacking the airbag hard, but not as bad as what it would be if there wasn’t an airbag.
While many NFL players don’t like the new equipment rule now, down the line they will be thanking the NFL.