Over the past offseason, Missouri QB James Franklin had surgery on his shoulder. Earlier this season against Georgia, he re-injured that same shoulder. When it came time to decide whether he could play against Arizona State this past Saturday, Franklin opted to sit as opposed to taking a cortisone injection, which would have reduced the inflammation and pain in his shoulder. His head coach got in a little hot water over his characterization of the situation after the game, but he’s since walked those comments back. The interesting part of the story is Franklin and his father’s perspective on injuries.
Talking to the Columbia Daily Tribune, Franklin’s father, Willie Franklin, had this to say on playing with injuries:
“Guys are medicating themselves and running into 300-pound people, and now your body is numb to it, and then after your career is over it comes back at you and you can’t even spend time with your families because your body’s breaking down,” said Willie Franklin. “So one of the things we want to do in our family is look after ourselves, stay healthy. It’s self-preservation. There is life after sports. One day you want to have a family and enjoy your kids so you look after yourself. You take care of yourself. So any decision he makes, I support him 100 percent.”
Franklin himself addressed the situation, and his perspective:
“I definitely wanted to play and be out there but at the same time I didn’t want to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with,” Franklin told the newspaper. “But I felt like I was maybe letting them down a little bit because we only get a certain amount of chances a year, 12 or 13. … I didn’t want to put that to waste by not being able to perform. I felt a little more torn about it because I didn’t want to let my teammates down and disappoint the coaches. But in the end I was just trying to make a decision I was most comfortable with.”
In a world dominated by win at all costs coaches, and players who are eager to please them to secure further playing time, it’s refreshing to see a player and his family take his long term health into serious consideration.