Professional Athletes Take Note

Staff Writer,
Posted Jun 19, 2006

"Big Ben" Roethlisberger is just the most recent NFL player to be injured by in a motorcyle accident. Just a few months ago, the Texans' Jerome Mathis was also injured in a motorcyle crash, only much less severely.

I’ve heard some talk recently on internet message boards I monitor and contribute to, and one recent trend is the discussion of all fans about Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his recent motorcycle accident.  While it is a tragic occurrence for Big Ben and his family, his actions also directly affect his teammates and their families as well.

With Pro Bowl kick returner Jerome Mathis sidelined temporarily due to his own motorcycle accident this year, the Texans sure understand what can be risked by activities that have an element of risk involved.

While Mathis was lucky and only had minor scrapes and abrasions after his accident, Roethlisberger sustained a broken jaw, broken nose, and several other facial fractures.  Ben was riding his 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa (billed the world’s fastest legal street bike) without a helmet when he was struck by a vehicle making a left turn.

It is not clear when, or if, Roethlisberger is going to be returning to the Steelers.  He will be issued at least two citations for the accident, including one for failing to drive in his class and another for failure to wear a helmet.

Unfortunately, these two individuals that I’ve mentioned thus far are only recent additions to the “Athletes Injured by Motorcycle” list.  Other athletes have had their careers ended by motorcycles.

One day after Roethlisberger the crash, Texans quarterback David Carr was approached by Carmine Pirone and asked about his reaction to the incident.

“You have to be careful with whatever you’re doing,” Carr said. “You can get in a car accident going fast, too. I’m not saying Ben was, I don’t know what happened in this situation. You just have to be careful because you’re not just tied to yourself and your family, but all the other guys that are out there in that huddle for you. Their contracts and their families’ lives depend upon whether you’re out there, too. You just have to be careful.”

At least one Texan understands the risks.

Professional athletes should have a better understanding about potentially risky behavior could cost them.  What I don’t understand is why Big Ben wears a helmet to practice, but he won’t wear one while out riding on a high performance motorcycle.

Texans head coach Gary Kubiak also expressed his concerns about this kind of behavior occurring inside his team.  “All you can do is preach to those guys,” Kubiak said.

“I told them the other day that you’ve only got so many years as an athlete, you’re not going to have this talent for long and you better take advantage of it. If you do something like that, you’re playing with danger because it takes away your time that the good Lord gave you as a skilled athlete. All you can do is preach it. We had the incident here with Jerome and then we said no motorcycles, but you can’t follow them home. It’s just a tough situation.”

Let’s hope the Texans have all taken mental notes with what has happened recently with both Mathis and Roethlisberger.

Related Stories
Roethlisberger leaves hospital
 -by  Jun 15, 2006
Doctors clarify Roethlisberger's surgery
 -by  Jun 14, 2006
Roethlisberger upgraded to fair condition
 -by  Jun 13, 2006

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