In recent news, Carolina Linebacker Luke Kuechly announced his decision to retire from the NFL after eight seasons. Kuechly was a key player for the Carolina defense and a fan favorite which is why the news of his retirement was a shock to many.
It is always hard for me to watch great players leave the league early, but I try to view the situation from a player’s position. I agree with his decision on retiring of multiple historical reasons. Kuechly has suffered at least three brutal concussions in his career two occurring back to back seasons, he also experienced two shoulder injuries having to endure two postseason surgeries.
Sometimes we view athletes as invincible, Our empathetic reactions are close to a minimum when they are injured during a game and we are not knowledgeable of their mentality and physical ability during and after recovery. While most spectators complain about the NFL becoming “soft” or “the game being ruined” because of new targeting rules; athletes are becoming more understanding of the importance of their health.
At the beginning of the 2019 season quarterback Andrew Luck made the same shocking decision of retiring. According to a Forbes interview, Luck stated that the “cycle of injury, pain, and rehab, over four years had taken its toll and sucked the passion, joy, and fun out of football”(Forbes). With the reoccurrence of the Aaron Hernadez story and the surrealness of CTE. I am glad Kuechly and other players have made this decision, many players stay in this game for far too long and I am happy to see some are getting out as healthy as possible.
Photo Credits: Richard Thigpen Photography
Kayla Wynn is the Assistant Spors Director for The WOLF Sports.