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Subject: "Jason Taylor paid the cost to be the boss" Previous topic | Next topic
Wonderl33t
Member since Jul 11th 2002
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Sun Jan-13-13 01:37 AM

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"Jason Taylor paid the cost to be the boss"


  

          

Nearly had his leg amputated... "be a player, not a patient." Wow. Long but good read. I had no idea he went through any of this.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/12/v-fullstory/3179926/dan-le-batard-jason-taylors-pain.html

By Dan Le Batard

Posted on Saturday, 01.12.13


As America’s most popular sport encounters a liability problem … as gladiator Junior Seau kills himself with a shotgun blast to the chest and leaves his damaged brain to study … as awareness and penalties increase around an NFL commissioner confronting the oxymoronic task of making a violent game safe … and as the rules change but the culture really doesn’t … we think we know this forever-growing monster we are cheering on Sundays. But we don’t. We have no earthly idea.
Dolphins legend Jason Taylor, for example, grew up right before our eyes, from a skinny Akron kid to a future Hall of Famer, his very public path out in front of those lights for 15 years. But take a look at what was happening in the dark. He was just a few blessed hours from having his leg amputated. He played games, plural, with a hidden and taped catheter running from his armpit to his heart. His calf was oozing blood for so many months, from September of one year to February of another, that he had to have the equivalent of a drain installed. This is a story of the private pain endured in pursuit of public glory, just one man’s broken body on a battlefield littered with thousands of them. As death and depression and dementia addle football’s mind, persuading some of the gladiators to kill themselves as a solution to end all the pain, and as the media finally shines a light on football’s concussed skull at the very iceberg-top of the problem, we begin the anatomy of Taylor’s story at the very bottom … with his feet.

He had torn tissues in the bottom of both of them. But he wanted to play. He always wanted to play. So he went to a private room inside the football stadium.

“Like a dungeon,” he says now. “One light bulb swaying back and forth. There was a damp, musty smell. It was like the basement in Pulp Fiction.”

The doctors handed him a towel. For his mouth. To keep him from biting his tongue. And to muffle his screaming.

“It is the worst ever,” he says. “By far. All the nerve endings in your feet.”

That wasn’t the ailment. No, that was the cure. A needle has to go in that foot, and there aren’t a lot of soft, friendly places for a big needle in a foot. That foot pain is there for a reason, of course. It is your body screaming to your brain for help. A warning. The needle mutes the screaming and the warning.

“The first shot is ridiculous,” Taylor says. “Ridiculously horrible. Excruciating.”

But the first shot to the foot wasn’t even the remedy. The first shot was just to numb the area … in preparation for the second shot, which was worse.

“You can’t kill the foot because then it is just a dead nub,” he says. “You’ve got to get the perfect mix . I was crying and screaming. I’m sweating just speaking about it now.”

How’d he play?

“I didn’t play well,” he says. “But I played better than my backup would have.”

He didn’t question these needles or this pain, didn’t question the dungeon or the doctors. Consequences were for other people, weaker ones. There was only one time Taylor questioned the worth of what he did for a living, while crying and curled up on the pavement of a parking lot outside his doctor’s office. It was the needle in the spine that made him wonder about the price of this game, but those questions were every bit as fleeting as the soothing provided by those epidurals. He didn’t practice much in 2006 because of a herniated disk in his back, and he needed the medicine pregnant women use for labor just to get to Sundays. Taylor’s wife was helping him down the stairs as he left the doctor’s office after one such epidural, but that wasn’t the bad part. His back locked up as he tried to get in the passenger seat of their car, making him crumble.

“I started shaking on the ground,” he says. “My wife was trying to pick me up. I was in tears.”

Help came to get him back upstairs … to get another needle in a different spot on the spine. He won Defensive Player of the Year that season, believe it or not. Still tells Nick Saban that he won that award because of how little he practiced that year, keeping his body fresh from the daily ravages of the job.

“There was a period of a year and a half or two years when I couldn’t put my kids to bed,” he says. “My wife and I laugh about it. You have to bend down. I couldn’t with their weight. I would just hover. I would get as low as I could, and then drop them, and they’d bounce.”

He isn’t bragging, and he isn’t complaining. He wants to make sure you know that. He feels lucky and blessed to have done what he did. He is just answering questions matter-of-factly about the insanity of the world where he worked. It is a barbaric game, trying to be more of a man than the next man, putting your pain threshold against your muscled opponent’s, all of these competition-aholics colliding at an inhumane rate of speed.

So did he lie to the doctors?

Yes.

Did he get in that player deli line outside the trainer’s room before the game to get that secret elixir, a Toradol shot in the butt that would lubricate and soothe away the aches for three hours despite its side effects (chest pains, headaches, nausea, bloody stool, coughing up blood, vomit that looks like coffee grounds)?

Yes.

Did he think this was smart or healthy?

No.

Did he care that it wasn’t smart or healthy?

No.

Taylor was leg-whipped during a game once in Washington. Happens all the time. Common. He was sore and had a bruise, but the pregame Toradol and the postgame pain medicine and prescribed sleeping pills masked the suffering, so he went to dinner and thought he was fine. Until he couldn’t sleep. And the medication wore off. It was 2 a.m. He noticed that the only time his calf didn’t hurt is when he was walking around his house or standing. So he found a spot that gave him relief on a staircase and fell asleep standing up, leaning against the wall. But as soon as his leg would relax from the sleep, the pain would wake him up again. He called the team trainer and asked if he could take another Vicodin. The trainer said absolutely not. This need to kill the pain is what former No. 1 pick Keith McCants says started a pain-killer addiction that turned to street drugs when the money ran out … and led him to try to hang himself to break the cycle of pain.

The trainer rushed to Taylor’s house. Taylor thought he was overreacting. The trainer told him they were immediately going to the hospital. A test kit came out. Taylor’s blood pressure was so high that the doctors thought the test kit was faulty. Another test. Same crazy numbers. Doctors demanded immediate surgery. Taylor said absolutely not, that he wanted to call his wife and his agent and the famed Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion. Andrews also recommended surgery, and fast. Taylor said, fine, he’d fly out in owner Daniel Snyder’s private jet in the morning. Andrews said that was fine but that he’d have to cut off Taylor’s leg upon arrival. Taylor thought he was joking. Andrews wasn’t. Compartment syndrome. Muscle bleeds into the cavity, causing nerve damage. Two more hours, and Taylor would have had one fewer leg. Fans later sent him supportive notes about their own compartment syndrome, many of them in wheelchairs.

Taylor’s reaction?

“I was mad because I had to sit out three weeks,” he says. “I was hot.”

He had seven to nine inches of nerve damage.

“The things we do,” he explains. “Players play. It is who we are. We always think we can overcome.”

Everything is lined up to get the unhealthy player back on the field — the desire of the player, the guy behind you willing to endure more for the paycheck, the urging of the coaches and teammates, the culture that mocks and eradicates the weak and the doctor whose job it is not necessarily to keep the player healthy but healthy enough to be valuable to the team, which isn’t the same thing at all. The doctor gives the player the diagnosis and the consequences on the sidelines with in-game injuries, without the benefit of an MRI, and then the player makes a choice with the information about whether to take a pain-masking shot. And the choice is always to play.

“Damn right,” Taylor says.

You never know if all those needles — and Taylor took a lot — produce more pain. Science has linked Toradol to plantar fasciitis (the aforementioned torn tendons in Taylor’s feet), so Taylor might have been taking one painkiller … that helped create a different pain … and thus required a different painkiller. That was certainly the case after his compartment syndrome. He developed a staph infection that required that catheter to run from armpit to heart with antibiotics. He’d hook himself up to it for a half-hour a day, like a car getting gas, letting the balls of medicine roll into his body. Then he concealed the catheter in tape under his arm so that an opponent wouldn’t know he was weak. Opponents will find your weakness, At the bottom of a fumble pile, a Buffalo Bills player once squeezed the hell out of Taylor’s Adam’s Apple to try and dislodge the football. Anything you read about the PICC line catheter (peripherally inserted central catheter) Taylor used will tell you to avoid swimming or weightlifting or anything that might get it dirty or sweaty. Taylor was playing with it in for weeks while colliding in the most violent of contact sports. Doctors told him it wasn’t a good idea to play with it in. He ignored them.

The training room? Taylor hated guys who “took up residency” there, calling them “soft.” His mentor, Dan Marino, has a quote up on one of the walls in there, something about how being in the training room doesn’t make you part of the team. Taylor was proud to learn that one of his own quotes has been put up in there, too: Be a player, not a patient. So even the one solitary place designated for healing in football, the one safe haven, is literally surrounded on all sides by walls of voices telling the player to get the hell out of here.

“Would I do it all again? I would,” Taylor says. “If I had to sleep on the steps standing up for 15 years, I would do it.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/12/v-print/3179926/dan-le-batard-jason-taylors-pain.html#storylink=cpy


<--- Blind faith

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
This fool, and any one like him, has mental issues
Jan 13th 2013
1
how does that get by the coach?
Jan 13th 2013
2
Crazy, those dudes really are gladiators
Jan 13th 2013
3
Jan 13th 2013
4
Jan 13th 2013
5
and these are the ppl we talk shit about on the regular. i knew
Jan 13th 2013
6
& after all that he says he'd do it all again. I have no sympathy.
Jan 13th 2013
7
^^^
Jan 13th 2013
8
But do you appreciate more what these guys go through?
Jan 13th 2013
10
      Always have. People get killed playing football.
Jan 13th 2013
12
After I read this, I read the entire thing aloud to my girlfriend.
Jan 13th 2013
9
I remember hearing the near amputation story while he was playing
Jan 13th 2013
11
this is why i hate to see guys booed or catching shit for either ...
Jan 13th 2013
13
How does that old saying go?
Jan 13th 2013
14
      lol, yeah, pretty accurate
Jan 13th 2013
15

PimpTrickGangstaClik
Member since Oct 06th 2005
15452 posts
Sun Jan-13-13 01:50 AM

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1. "This fool, and any one like him, has mental issues"
In response to Reply # 0


          

_______________________________________

  

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Crucian1
Member since Oct 04th 2002
32178 posts
Sun Jan-13-13 01:55 AM

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2. "how does that get by the coach?"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

and how do you get cleared to play?

  

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ThaTruth
Charter member
94086 posts
Sun Jan-13-13 01:57 AM

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3. "Crazy, those dudes really are gladiators"
In response to Reply # 0


          

________________________________________
"Stay out the dark, cause if I catch you when the sun is down..."
https://youtu.be/eaaTxVRG06c?t=89

  

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ChuckFoPrez
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Sun Jan-13-13 08:21 AM

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4. ""
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

That says it all.

https://twitter.com/chuck4prez

  

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ChuckFoPrez
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Sun Jan-13-13 08:25 AM

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5. ""
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

https://twitter.com/chuck4prez

  

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poetx
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Sun Jan-13-13 01:26 PM

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6. "and these are the ppl we talk shit about on the regular. i knew "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

taylor was one of the best in the game on the field, but i'd have never guessed he was going through all of this off the field.

when i lived up in md, a friend of mine was friends w/ a running back for the r*dskins. used to play for atl. he was still one of the premier backs in the league with WAS. he had a bruising style. he told my boy that he had to drink a whole fifth of jack just to numb the pain enough to get out of bed on monday.

if anybody should be allowed to smoke weed (medicinally) its nfl players.

alchohol is 'legal'. but dude was fucking up his liver and who knows what else just to fight the pain of playing.



a line in that article was telling, that training staff and team doctors only cared about getting guys healthy enough to play. that's like in college where the team academic advisors only cared about getting us to do enough in class to be eligible.


peace & blessings,

x.

www.twitter.com/poetx

=========================================
** i move away from the mic to breathe in

  

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Binlahab
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Sun Jan-13-13 02:00 PM

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7. "& after all that he says he'd do it all again. I have no sympathy."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Is what it is.

  

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BrooklynWHAT
Member since Jun 15th 2007
81761 posts
Sun Jan-13-13 02:16 PM

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8. "^^^"
In response to Reply # 7


  

          

<--- Big Baller World Order

  

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Wonderl33t
Member since Jul 11th 2002
21405 posts
Sun Jan-13-13 02:44 PM

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10. "But do you appreciate more what these guys go through?"
In response to Reply # 7


  

          

I don't think he or anyone else is looking for sympathy.


<--- Blind faith

  

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Binlahab
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Sun Jan-13-13 03:00 PM

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12. "Always have. People get killed playing football."
In response to Reply # 10


  

          

Permanently handicapped. It's a violent game. Anyone who plays, watches or enjoys the game understands & appreciates that


do or die

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
84515 posts
Sun Jan-13-13 02:36 PM

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9. "After I read this, I read the entire thing aloud to my girlfriend."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

This is simply shocking and devastating. I can't comprehend what to think about it right now. Absolutely insane.

For beer lovers: http://thebeertravelguide.com
For movie lovers: http://russellhainline.com

  

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MothershipConnection
Member since Nov 22nd 2003
7498 posts
Sun Jan-13-13 02:44 PM

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11. "I remember hearing the near amputation story while he was playing"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Pretty much anyone who makes and lasts in the NFL is nuts when it comes to pain tolerance.

  

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ConcreteCharlie
Member since Nov 21st 2002
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Sun Jan-13-13 03:12 PM

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13. "this is why i hate to see guys booed or catching shit for either ..."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

playing hurt and not playing well or sitting out because they really should.

guys in the NFL and NHL are playing with such serious injuries on such a regular basis. i am sure it's true in baseball and basketball and soccer, too. i have seen guys in the NHL who couldn't bend over to pick up their equipment go out and log 20 minutes. obviously taylor is not unique in the NFL.

and i get that the fans aren't aware but they should be more aware of the possibility. like last year people were roasting gaborik and kesler, those guys were beat to shit. gabs needed surgery that he still hasn't recovered from, kesler played hurt for most of the year and last year's playoffs.

it's not a tough concept to understand, if you are nowhere near 100%, your play is going to suffer and you shouldn't be getting traded by every armchair GM or booed by every asshole drunk fan.

And you will know MY JACKET IS GOLD when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

  

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MothershipConnection
Member since Nov 22nd 2003
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Sun Jan-13-13 03:14 PM

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14. "How does that old saying go?"
In response to Reply # 13


  

          

Out for a month in baseball, out for a week in basketball, out for a quarter in football, and out for a shift in hockey.

  

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ConcreteCharlie
Member since Nov 21st 2002
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Sun Jan-13-13 03:17 PM

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15. "lol, yeah, pretty accurate"
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

you don't see many other sports where guys cut their faces open and are like "ok, get those 50 stitches in fast so i can get back before intermission."

i remember when i was a kid i saw karl malone blow up zeke's face with an elbow and i thought it was horrific. it's not as bad as blocking a 100 MPH shot with your nose though.

And you will know MY JACKET IS GOLD when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

  

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