All signs seem to be positive for P.J. Williams, who was feared to have a spinal injury.
P.J. Williams is alright. He has a concussion, and I’d imagine it’s a bad one. But there’s no spinal injury. That feels like a blessing, after the second year player spent a few minutes unconscious on the field before medical staff strapped him to a stretcher and a took him to the hospital.
The injury occurred in the first quarter, when Williams went low to tackle Giants tight end Larry Donnell. Williams hit the side of his head against Donnell’s knee, and then again on Craig Robertson’s knee as Robertson finished off the tackle. William’s hand immediately shot up to his head, and he was unconscious before he hit the turf. Robertson recognized the severity of the injury, and urgently waved towards the Saints sideline.
It was one of those moments where you worry so much about the player’s health that you forget the football ramifications. Members of the Giants’ receiving group knelt along the sideline, holding hands in prayer for Williams. The concern was clear: Williams could have been paralyzed. Thank god he wasn’t.
The moment encapsulated much of the public concern with football. It’s easy to fault the league for their inadequate handling of concussions and player safety, but this was a routine tackle. There’s no way to eliminate this sort of risk from the sport.
Injuries like this are what set football players apart from other athletes. I don’t want to glorify the risk, but there’s no way around the fact that it calls for a certain amount of respect between players. These aren’t modern gladiators, but they play in the modern day arena. Injury is an everyday risk with any sport. But as much as I love football, any honest fan must admit: the sport is fundamentally flawed. No matter how exciting, the danger to players’ health and livelihood is unprecedented and inexcusable.