Sports can often be vilified. They are a business and unless a team can make a profit then it is a failure. Sports are no longer simply about the spirit of competition but rather the almighty dollar (see NFL, NBA and NHL lockouts). However, sometimes there is a story that goes against the grain, one that quiets the cynics for a short time. Today one of those rare stories was released involving the Florida State Seminoles.
Offensive lineman Richy Klepal was rated as a four-star recruit coming out of Tampa, and had commited to FSU. His career has ended prematurely due to suffering his fifth concussion. Klepal has a hemorrhage in his brain that could kill him if he suffers another major impact. Sadly, his playing days are over. However, Florida State’s football program will honor Klepal’s scholarship, so he will be able to receive an education.
This sort of heartwarming tale doesn’t come along too often in the world of sports. Klepal will receive a free education without ever stepping foot on a field and that education will give him a brighter future. Football is just a game and that game isn’t worth risking a young man’s life.
The term “student-athlete” isn’t dead yet (although that day may be here soon), and I hope that this type of action becomes a precedent among academic institutions rather than an exception. Florida State has changed the life of a young man, while receiving almost nothing in return. Sports should be about more than money and hopefully stories like this will make more people realize that.
I applaud head coach Jimbo Fisher and Florida State University as a whole for this truly selfless act and wish Richy Klepal good luck during his time in college and beyond.