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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Richardson’s surgical decision shouldn’t be made by others

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By now everyone has heard the various opinions regarding the injured shoulder of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson and how the situation should be handled. 

Those opinions range from regaining strength through rest and rehabilitative measures that include a gradual throwing program to a traditional surgical procedure, and while we’ve yet to hear directly from a qualified clinician regarding their astute professionally recommended course of action, we also haven’t heard from the man whose opinion clearly matters the most in this difficult situation.

That’s right, I’m referring to Richardson himself, and while it’s not unusual for a professional sports franchise to remain tight-lipped about a player’s injury, it’s clearly time for a definitive statement from the QB himself. 

After all, this is indeed a profoundly frustrating situation for a promising young player who has athletic skills that are off the chart and is now is faced with the toughest decision in his life. 

Then again, how does any player make such an important decision? Does he rely on an agent or a family member who might feel they know what is best for his future, or does he look to what we can only assume is a highly credentialed team physician who can pinpoint the problem and discuss the probable outcome as he travels down the clinical pathway?

Richardson’s medical provider options are vast and while he undoubtedly has exercised his right to seek additional opinions on both the severity of the injury and the projected recovery time post-surgery, it’s imperative for this process to unfold sooner rather than later to begin the timeline to what everyone hopes will be a full recovery for him.

There is, however, an elephant in the room here that must be discussed. While Richardson overall is in incredible physical condition and may indeed be an excellent candidate for a complete recovery, that doesn’t guarantee he will be able to throw a forty-yard frozen rope type pass again. Just ask Andrew Luck about shoulder injuries and get an earful on it.

There’s also the financial pressures injured players deal with and potentially compounds their situations as well by fostering a thought process that says they have to play as that’s what they’re get paid for, which in this particular case is indeed a handsome some of legal tender. 

The other side of all that guaranteed money is the rightful protection the Players Union has successfully negotiated for in the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the National Football League, which is necessary to protect highly drafted players who suffer potentially career ending injuries early on in their respective deal.

There’s absolutely no guarantee that Richardson will ever be able to throw the football again effectively without pain, and there’s also a chance his surgery will be successful and with the proper post operative care he’ll be just fine. How to address this frustrating injury is the big question, and that answer has to come from the man himself. 

Hopefully whatever he chooses to do will be the right decision, and his decision alone.

Danny Bridges, who would talk to dozens of orthopedic experts if l was a world class athlete like Anthony Richardson, can be reached at (317) 370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com.

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