Football fans are often guilty of forgetting that it really is just a game, and that while we might spend our weekends watching games, or even watching hours of NFL Draft coverage, there are more important things. The college football world got an unfortunate reminder of that with the news that UCLA Bruins defensive back Marcus Rios is out of commission for at least six months, and possibly the entire 2013 season, with a fungus infection.
The infection started as a routine sinus infection last fall, but Rios told the Los Angeles Times doctors discovered the fungus “behind my eye and beneath my brain.”
If it sounds serious, that’s because it is. The infection is very rare and has often been deadly. Rios told the Times that there have been only 12 known cases of this infection, and eight of the people infected died from it.
The rising sophomore has already had six surgeries to remove it, with another scheduled for the next few weeks. He’s been receiving antibiotics through a catheter in his arm, which prohibited him from running and, therefore, practicing this spring.
Rios graduated early from Cosumnes Oak High School, in Elk Grove, Ca., near Sacramento, to be on campus for UCLA’s spring practices a year ago. As a freshman in 2012, he played in nine gamesas a reserve defensive back and special teamer and recorded three tackles.
UCLA Bruins head coach Jim Mora said Rios would be out for six months after his upcoming surgery, but Rios expects to miss the entire 2013 season.
As dangerous as this infection sounds, though, who really cares when he’s back on the field, as long as he gets healthy again? Football is, obviously, very important to Rios, but his spot on a depth chart is nothing compared to living a long, healthy life. Here’s hoping the seventh surgery is the charm and Rios is back with the Bruins soon.