Randy Smith: Football, Injuries And Saban

Tuesday, November 19, 2019
I have always turned my head when replays of nasty looking injuries are played during televised games. You know, like the Joe Theisman injury years ago or the Nick Chubb broken leg at Georgia several seasons ago. But, when Alabama's Tua Tagavailoa suffered a severe hip injury on Saturday I watched it over and over again trying to see what actually happened. It looks like a tough, routine tackle to me, but the result was much more serious. The dislocated hip ended Tua's season and quite likely ended Alabama's hopes for another spot in the College Football Playoffs.

Back up Mac Jones now shoulders the 'Bama football fortunes against Western Carolina this week and Auburn in two weeks.
Jones is more than capable of directing the Crimson Tide offense but against teams like Clemson and Ohio State in the playoffs Alabama's stock drops considerably with Jones at the helm. Fans in Alabama have been quite critical of head coach Nick Saban's decision to leave Tua in the game with 3:15 remaining in the first half and a 35-7 Crimson Tide lead against Mississippi State and I believe that criticism is unwarranted. In a blowout game very few coaches take their starters out of the game before halftime.

That injury could have happened on the first play from scrimmage or any other play for that matter. That's the way injuries work in football. Every player takes a chance every time they step on the field. Each and every play in the game could be someone's last play because of the violent nature of the game. I've stated many times before that I don't care if either of my grandsons ever play a down of football. I watched my son go through injury after injury and surgery after surgery just to be able to play the game of football. He was very good and had a promising career but when he finally made the decision to give the game up he told me, " I want to be able to walk when I'm 30 years old."

I understand that completely. I know there are many positives to the game of football with many wonderful life lessons to be learned. But at what cost? I see older former players every day limp as they walk or unable to stand up straight because they played football. And notice that I haven't even mentioned the concussion factor yet. 

Football is a great game, but it's also a dangerous game. Understand that and cut Coach Saban some slack. 

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