Detroit Lions News: Putting My Jahvid Best Jersey Away

It once graced my broad shoulders and that Honolulu Blue color seemed to make me appear thinner, taller and younger. There it hangs in my closet next to the well worn number 20 jersey of Barry Sanders. Alas, it's time to retire both of them and move on.

I, like most Lions fans have watched with increasing angst as the talented running back languishes on the sideline with post concussion symptoms that persist to the limits or our patience.

Is Best's return to duty a day-to-day, or a week-by-week proposition? Is Best's history of concussions reason for concern that future brain traumas are inevitible?

Most importantly, what are the implications of further brain trauma upon Best's future health and quality of life?

The truth is that we just don't know.

The statistics are alarming. The Journal of the American Medical Association stated that 300,000 sport-related concussions occur in the United States annualy. The JAMA study suggests that once concussed, an athlete will be more likely to suffer further concussions.

The JAMA study admits that while there are several published guidelines for the return of a concussed player, none have emerged as a "criterion standard by sports medicine clinicians."

One thing that experts are in unanimous agreement upon is that a player who returns prior to a full recovery can have lethal consequences.

We find ourselves in a recently enlightened environment with respect to brain traumas as the thousands of American military personnel who have suffered concussions from IED-related incidents along with football athletes are pushing the medical establishment for answers that might take years of intensive research in order to reach a consensus standard for rehabilitation therapies that will yield positive outcomes.

In the meanwhile, the NFL is being sued by hundreds of former players in a class-action that will determine to what extent the league failed to warn players of the possible cumulative effects of multiple concussions, and to what extent the NFL failed to provide adequate safety equipment and rules that would alleviate concussions.

The NFL's insurer, Alterra American Insurance, has collected millions in premiums but is seeking a declaration that it doesn't have a duty to defend, nor indemnify the NFL's 32 co defendants in the upcoming lawsuit.

Predictably, the NFL is counter-suing Alterra and claiming that the players have always had the responsibility to self-report concussion-like symptoms.

Equipment manufacturers like Riddell Helmets are on pins and needles waiting for the other shoe to drop while filing suit against their insurers in a preemptive attempt to deny insurers Alterra-esque structured declarations.

How the NFL, the players, the insurance companies, the courts and the medical establishment sorts this morass out is anybody's guess.

All of this maelstrom of controversy has done nothing to encourage fans for a speedy return by Jahvid Best. How should we tweak our perceptions and expectations with respect to Best?

I, for one, have come to peace with the concept that we will never see Javid Best on the gridiron again.

I've concluded that this is the healthiest mindset to adopt moving forward for all parties concerned. First, if Best is ultimately cleared to return by doctors we can call it a bonus. However, does the benefit outweigh the specter that Best will suffer another concussion every time he touches the ball?

Our collective knee-jerk reaction will be holding our breaths until he jumps to his feet after every play.

I suspect that the doctors who are charged with the determination of when he's ready to return will do so with cleverly designed caveats that will limit their culpability and liability should Best suffer another serious concussion.

Finally, if Jahvid Best comes to the soul wrenching decision that his post concussion symptoms warrant his retirement from the game for which he has such talent and passion, he will do do so with the best interests of his family and his personal quality of life foremost in his mind.

Yes, Lions fans, I'm putting my Jahvid Best jersey away. It's time to move on while we cling to the hope for Best's full recovery—with, or without football.

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