Our Opinion: Tough enough to resist foolish choice

News Tribune editorial

Football quarterbacks must make decisions. James Franklin, starting quarterback for the University of Missouri, made a wise decision Saturday when he opted not to play.

Franklin rejected an injection to numb the pain in an injured shoulder.

We encourage other athletes, at all levels, to follow his example.

All too often, athletes are tempted to prove their “toughness” by numbing an injury. The potential consequence is the athlete will not feel a greater — perhaps career-ending — injury.

Concerning injections to numb pain, Franklin said he has “never been a fan of it.”

His accurate assessment was: “Me personally, I’m going to feel the pain and if I’m going to hurt (my shoulder), then I want to feel every second of it to feel how far I can go, and how far I can’t go.”

Franklin candidly admits he feared letting down his teammates. He said he discussed his decision with them and received no negative feedback.

In addition, Head Coach Gary Pinkel and other members of the coaching staff defended Franklin’s competitive spirit and his decision.

“I’ve never made a medical decision ever,” Pinkel said. “I’ve never gone up to a trainer since I’ve been coach and said, ‘Get a guy ready.’ Not once in 22 years as a head coach, ever.”

We applaud the Missouri Tigers players and coaches for supporting Franklin’s decision.

College football is surrounded by much publicity and hype, perhaps even more so this season with Missouri’s entry into the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Fans purchase tickets and fill stadiums, alumni support institutions and networks televise games.

The pressure on players and coaches to perform — and prevail — is enormous.

But that pressure is no reason to mask pain and risk a season-ending or career-ending injury — or worse, a permanent disability.

Franklin’s decision serves as an example to athletes and fans about what it means to make wise choices, and to be tough enough to resist pressure.

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