Nate Jackson (fmr WR/TE) wrote a book about his NFL career, injury highlights

Submitted by Seth on December 13th, 2013 at 7:56 AM

Caught this on Deadspin:

Link takes you to an excerpt that talks about the toll playing football takes on human bodies. The excerpt's from Nate Jackson's book on his NFL career, which may not be typical of NFL careers but isn't exactly strange. The point about the injuries is that ignoring one leads to another, and rehabbing that instead of fixing it leads to another, and etc. etc.

Hot Take: Since we talk about what's in it for the kids all the time, I guess it lends some perspective to remember these guys have to spend the next 60 years paying for their football careers.



December 13th, 2013 at 8:36 AM ^

"Hot Take: Since we talk about what's in it for the kids all the time, I guess it lends some perspective to remember these guys have to spend the next 60 years paying for their football careers."

Not trying to diminish the impact of injuries on their future health but I have to take issue with the statement that they HAVE TO spend the next 60 years paying for their football careers.

Playing football is very much a choice.  Just as smoking, not wearing seatbelts and other potentially personally destructive behavior is (I know, I smoked for almost 25 years before finally quitting in 2008).

Nobody is forcing them to play just as no one forced me to smoke.


December 13th, 2013 at 8:58 AM ^

That's a very good point. And the players make a fair wage to compensate them putting their bodies on the line. 

Any worker in the U.S. that gets danger pay gets up to 35% of their normal compensation. I believe that even U.S. soldiers on the front line get that 35% rate of danger pay and I'm willing to guess that their pay isn't anywhere near the millions of dollars that these players are making. 


December 13th, 2013 at 9:12 AM ^

The hazardous duty pay, which applies to many career fields that are by nature "hazardous", such as flying airplanes in hostile environments, is on average about $150 but goes up for some rank levels.  Imminent danger pay is capped at $225 a month for the time that one is in a defined area. 

So, nowhere near what these guys get.  Its apples and oranges though...the product that people see on a field, the entertainment value, its just a different animal.  Hollywood actors are given a lot of money, too.  Its the market.  People in the military don't necessarily do what they do for the money, but would definitely earn every dollar they get even if the hostile fire pay went up significantly.  Unfortunately, the budget doesn't allow for that.  In fact, the ranks are going to be thinned out a lot in the next few years. 

I'll stop there to keep myself from getting political.


December 13th, 2013 at 9:18 AM ^

It's true that no-one is forcing them, but an employer has the responsibility to identify risks, enact prevention and mitigation measures, communicate them and ensure they are fully understood.  They also have the responsibility of conducting an incident investigation, identifying both root causes and causal factors and then communicating them across the organization and sometimes the industry.  Only degrees of this may apply to football depending on the type of injury, but the NFL has obfuscated, denied, and colluded to misrepresent the risk of brain injurires.  College and earlier levels of football even further externalize all the risk onto the player.

Accountabiliy for risk is shared by the organization.  It's not enough to acknowledge "there are risks" and make it entirely the player's  responsibility.  If people (and parents) knew all of the risks it would change things, be it decreased participation or coaches sitting more players out of caution.

Smoking: aside from marketing, manufacturers colluded to suppress and manipulate science.  Maybe "everyone knew it could be bad for you" but they certainly did not know how bad (this is not dissimilar to the NFL's manipulation of brain injury studies the past two decades though they did not go nearly as far).  I'm not discussing the political solutions and lawsuits but those companies lied about their product so they share some of the risk with smokers irrespective of how they were held accountable.  It's simply not true the organizations are not responsible for the end use of their processes, product or brand.

Benoit Balls

December 13th, 2013 at 9:30 AM ^

a Browns fan like me, I wasn't sure if you saw Jackson's takedown of Eric Mangini from a few months back in Scene Magazine? 

Click for link

Interesting story, albeit a bit one sided. Basically blames all the ills of those Browns teams on Mangini being a control freak.  Still, some interesting nuggests on how things work in the NFL.


December 13th, 2013 at 9:38 AM ^

Thanks Benoit I had not seen that article but I had heard that about the Man-Genius.

BTW - to the others responding above please understand I am not making the case that the employer (the NFL) or the tobacco industry is absolved from responsibility for their actions.   They clearly are.  What I took umbrage at was Seth's statement that they HAD to pay for these injuries and anything elective, like football and smoking, is a choice.  Football players dont have to pay for injuries cause they dont have to play football.  They choose to.

Just as I, a Michigan graduate who thinks he's fairly intellegent otherwise, chose to smoke in spite of the known health risks and the fact I knew it could one day kill me,  for over 25 years.  

Franch Dressing

December 13th, 2013 at 8:56 AM ^

As somebody who works with the Broncos on a semi-consistent basis, I have been curious as to what ever happened to him. Out of sight, out of mind. Always played hard, but was always hurt.


December 13th, 2013 at 9:41 AM ^

Good quick read. He was interviewed on a few weeks ago. Nothing very controversial, but an interesting account of the 40-45 relatively faceless (to the average fan) non-superstars who are fighting for playing time and roster spots. I can't believe that he played again after his muscle detachment.

I remember reading Dave Meggyesy's "Out of their League" as a (too young) kid; that's much more scandalous. Or even the articles (Miami Herald? SI?) about Miami and the money, drugs, strip clubs, etc, but I can't believe that's "typical."

Evil Empire

December 13th, 2013 at 10:20 AM ^

So this produced flashbacks to eight years ago.  Of course I was there for fun and not to fix my body for my job.  My still-subpar leg doesn't affect my career at all.  I'm hoping my kids are nerds like me and are content with medicrity in non-contact sports.  Hooray for the marching band.


December 13th, 2013 at 11:26 AM ^

I agree with the general tenor of the comments pointing out that while the NFL's hands are dirty in many regards, the players are not forced into game action but willfully choose to pursue this line of work.  Jackson always comes off as a bit whiney in this regard (which explains why Deadspin loves him).  If his point was "If only I'd known the risks, I wouldn't have played," it'd be far more interesting than criticizing the league's handling of injuries in what is very obviously a brutally violent game.  I'd be interested to get John Moffitt's take on Jackson and his book.


December 13th, 2013 at 3:34 PM ^

if you play NFL football? I think one would need one hell of a rider to any such policy because holy shit dude! 

All of these injuries are bad news later on in life.