Football is a game about strength and power. Those that play the game tend to think of themselves as an unstoppable force with no limitations, but every once in a while the sport reminds fans and players alike that these men that run and hit each other with great force, are just human.
They are made of flesh and blood, their bones can break just like any other person’s. This past weekend football players and fans were reminded of this important fact when University of South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore broke his femur and patella, ass well as tearing four ligaments in his knee when his Gamecocks defeated the Tennessee Volunteers.
The injury reminded the football world of Willis McGahee’s horrific knee injury in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl National Championship Game. McGahee tore three knee ligaments when he was tackled in the fourth quarter of the game. Like McGahee at the time of his injury, Lattimore was considered the best pro prospect at his position and a virtual lock to be a first round draft pick.
While McGahee was still a first round pick, this cannot be said for Lattimore. Today’s NFL is more about passing the ball than ever, which means less of an emphasis on the running game and running backs becoming devalued as players. Also, McGahee missed his entire rookie season to continue to rehab from his injury, today rookies are being pressed into action a lot sooner than they were back in 2003.
The path back to the football field will be difficult for Marcus Lattimore but he has shown his impressive resilience before. Last season he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and was able to return to the field just six months after the injury, and proves that if anyone can come back from such a terrible injury it’s him.