Saints News

Nick Fairley may have heart issue

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Oct 2, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; New Orleans Saints nose tackle Nick Fairley (90) looks on before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; New Orleans Saints nose tackle Nick Fairley (90) looks on before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nick Fairley may have a heart issue. If so, his career is in jeapordy.

While this is obviously huge news for the Saints, it’s bigger news for Nick Fairley.

We have no details on the matter yet. Players have played through heart issues in the past. It depends on the severity. And medicals are a tricky business. It might be possible that what seemed heart problems turn out to be nothing.

But chances are, if a test showed something wrong, there’s something wrong.

I’m not going to talk about the football ramifications for the Saints. I’m going to talk about health. About this league, about people’s lives. About concussions and contracts and the business of football.

If Fairley’s life is at all threatened by this diagnosis, then he should stay as far away from football as possible. I think everyone would agree with that. A similar situation is playing out in the NBA right now, with Chris Bosh. Bosh has a blood clot problem. It’s too soon to say if Fairley’s condition is at all related.

I want to make a point here, and please forgive me that I’m taking the occasion of this horrible news to do so. I think the wide acceptance that Fairley should stay away from the game — wide acceptance that I’ve assumed, admittedly — betrays a hypocrisy. We all know, already, heart problem or no, that this game threatens the livelihood of every athlete on the field. Paralysis and concussions threaten on every collision. But it’s more than that. The lack of research on CTE

Paralysis and concussions threaten on every collision. But it’s more than that. The lack of research on CTE means that we have no way of knowing what a non-concussing head collision means for the brain.

Anyway, that’s another point for another day. For now, I’ll say that I hope for Fairley’s sake that he gets through this okay. And if he can’t play again, I don’t for one second regret his latest contract.

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