Great news came out of the Pittsburgh this week as the Pittsburgh Steelers have announced that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has been recovering from a shoulder and rib injury the past month, will get the start this weekend against the San Diego Chargers.
The Steelers are taking great care to ensure that Roethlisberger is able to play, adding a vest lined with Kevlar to help protect him from impact on his injured shoulder and ribs. The vest will utilize something called Concussion Reduction Technology(CRT), similar to what many NFL players use in their helmets to protect them from concussions to further aid Roethlisberger from re-injuring himself. While Roethlisberger isn’t fully healed, he’s been able to practice all week and it’s been reported he looks very sharp.
All this talk about player safety and the great lengths the Steelers are going to, in an attempt to ensure he isn’t injured this weekend has me thinking about something. If Roethlisberger is able to participate fully in this weekend wearing this specially-designed vest, and it provides a considerable modicum of protection, why aren’t all players wearing it? In the big picture, the uniforms most players wear, minus their helmets, are a rather dated and antiquated design. If there is this advanced protective technology out there that doesn’t hinder a player’s ability to perform in their sport, how are these advances not a part of their regular uniform? But this is a topic for another day.
My Take-Getting Roethlisberger back on the field is a great sign for a team that seems to be hitting it’s stride at exactly the right time. Some have criticized that the Steelers should hold Roethlisberger out for another week, the thinking being that the Steelers can beat the Chargers without him, so why risk further injury? I get that logic entirely, and bringing him back is a calculated risk. However, I think the Steelers understand how important this win is. They are clinging to the final wild card spot and a loss could be beyond unfortunate. Along those same lines, the season hangs in the balance and it’s going to be on Roethlisberger to carry the team. I expect the team to do all they can to protect him through schemes and protections and try not to open him up to any big hits; especially on things like free runs to the quarterback. Lots of shotgun, quick reads, max protect and run the football. That’s the recipe for success.
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