THE “GLADIATOR” mentality throughout sports history has been
widely celebrated and glorified. For avid sports fans such as myself,
we can remember those seemingly impossible performances by such revered
modern-day warriors as the late, great Kobe Bryant, shooting and making
two free throws after
tearing his Achilles.
While every performance and memory is unique, we've all likely seen
and can recount some version of it: The athlete has trained extensively
and exhaustively for this event, culminating in an ultimate “battle,”
during which he or she sustains an injury. We, the spectators, watch in
awe as the athlete powers through the pain to emerge the victor and ultimate
champion. There are countless movies with this premise, and some variation
of it still occurs today. But at what ultimate cost? And how does an athlete
know when it’s “worth” the risk to play through pain
or when it’s best, safest or career-saving to pull back? The answers
are nuanced and can depend on various factors, but the risk of playing
through pain or injury is high.
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