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Football Players May Be Tough as Nails, but They’re Not Invincible

This is a guest post from Albert Elias – President of Elias Sports Management, LLC. Follow Albert and 50+ other sports agents who are active on Twitter on the Master Twitter List of Sports Agents.


headshot albert elias sports agent bwEach of my NFL clients at Elias Sports Management has only one body. And if they go out there on the field and royally screw it up, they’re done… game over… their NFL dream has ended.

As for myself… I can gain one hundred pounds and not worry about losing my job, because I’ll still have my mouth to keep me going (as long as someone doesn’t come around and stuff something in it – HA!). But my guys… I gotta be veeeery protective of them, because if their body is hobblin’ around, we all might find ourselves in a huge heap of trouble if the condition isn’t properly handled. That’s why when one of my client’s is hurting, I have to be there for him to make sure he receives the proper medical attention he needs, or else he’ll potentially be at risk of not being able to play football at all anymore and then I’ll be down a client.

Since everyone thinks football is such a macho sport, they assume that players should be able to suck it up and play while they’re injured. Well, that’s about the most naive belief I’ve ever heard of. If you’re a player in the NFL who’s making five million dollars a year to play a GAME and some bad luck blows out your knee, you’re gonna be stuck in a pretty rough situation. You can either take your time to rehab your injury with the utmost care, or you can rush your recovery, return to the field prematurely, and then potentially re-injure the same knee so badly that it ends your career.

With that scenario firmly implanted in your mind, you can probably now understand why playing with an injury is a dumb idea. If you’re a client of mine who’s hurt, I’m going to make sure you’re as healthy as can be before you return to the game, because I’m not going to risk my client losing his dream job or myself losing one of my dream clients.

I’ll never forget the time one of my clients had an ankle issue that slowing him down. I had my idea of how I wanted him treated and the team he played for had theirs. It was during a period in his career when he was really trying to make everyone a believer in him, so to be out of the game for an extended period of time really wasn’t something he felt comfortable doing. Quite simply, he just flat-out didn’t want someone else to come along and take his place while he was out of action.

Thanks to the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, which allows players to get a second medical opinion on their injuries, I had my agency’s in-house Medical Director, David Elias (aka my brilliant brother – what up, “Big Dog!”) hook him up with one of the top ankle specialists in the world, who ultimately recommended a different line of treatment that would cause my client to be able to return to the game at 100% in a timely, not rushed, fashion. Sometimes, it’s important that a second opinion is given to make sure the treatment path that the player is going down is the right one for them personally. It’s so much more effective for the player to be fully-fit when they return, so it might be worth getting another opinion. Many athletes, from a range of different sports, often visit health clinics, like this Kitchener Clinic, to ensure they’re on the correct rehabilitation plan for their injury. This ensures they are resting for the correct amount of time, giving the injury appropriate time to heal.

As far as the team’s recommendation goes, they wanted to run with a treatment that was, in our opinion, a bit on the risky side, but would have gotten my client back on the field much quicker. Yet even though our two parties had differing opinions on our guy’s circumstances, the team was more than happy about our desire to seek a second opinion, because not only would it potentially help us in our search for the best remedy, but it could also potentially affirm the team’s initial diagnosis.

Once our decision was made to move forward with the Elias Sports Management approach to repairing his ankle, one of the team’s personnel – who’s actually a very good friend of mine – came up to him and said something like, “Boy, your agent really messed you up this time” (referring to how my boy might be risking opportunities with the team by missing an extended period of time). In return, my client looked the guy square in the eyes and said…”You know what? Albert and I have a helluva lot more to lose than you do.”The guy just looked right back at him with a grin and said, “I can appreciate that.”

Beyond that, to make a long story, short… my client ultimately got right back up on his feet and never missed a beat, just like we knew he would. So far, moving along with our more patient approach to healing his ankle, which ended up being best for his health over the long-term, has proven to be the greatest decision we’ve ever made for him, for a number of reasons.

Even though I try and protect my guys as much as I can, I have to face the fact that sometimes players play hurt. They’re warriors, man, they really are. I give them so much respect for gritting their teeth through particular pains so that they can play the game they love. Take my boy Kevin Payne for example… the other day he played a game with a bruised rib, he was spitting up blood, and he had a broken wrist and toe. Now THAT’S a guy who’s tough as nails.

Over here at our agency, we do not take injuries lightly. We have medical people in place who always have an eye focused upon every bone in our client’s bodies. And we pay this dramatic degree of attention to their health, not just because we want them to play good football, but also because I wanna be able to beat them at a round of golf when they’re fifty-five years old – (HAHA! It’s crazy how most of the things we do in life somehow end up having to do with golf in the end, isn’t it!? 😉

Have a great one, guys!


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By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

One reply on “Football Players May Be Tough as Nails, but They’re Not Invincible”

…or…you can actually be responsible and tell the fat unfit burst-oriented snobs that they are originally unfit. I know, it would mean you might actually undo your job, but that would also mean you are responsible. Fat burst-oriented sports are not athletic positions at all. No more than throwing a fridge at a receiver is.

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