A full year after his last concussion and Jahvid Best has still not been cleared to play by doctors.
Detroit Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew released a statement Monday, saying:
"After today’s consultation with medical experts, including representatives from our medical and training staffs, it has been determined that Jahvid will not be permitted to return to play at this time. Throughout this entire process we always have placed the highest priority on what is best for Jahvid from a health and safety standpoint. While today’s decision is disappointing from a football perspective, we fully and entirely respect and support this recommendation. Jahvid will continue to work with our medical and training staffs with the hope that he ultimately will be cleared to return to the playing field."
While the team remains optimistic that their former first-round pick will return to the field, it may be best for his health that he stays away from it.
Best was explosive as a backfield weapon with the Lions. In 22 career games, Best has rushed for 945 yards with six touchdowns. He also has 774 receiving yards and three more touchdowns.
The NFL allows for a three-week window, beginning Monday, for players to be activated from the PUP list. If Best is not cleared by then, he will miss the rest of the 2012-13 season. If this happens he will have missed nearly two-years of action.
Best said himself (h/t Profootballtalk.com) that he has been symptom free for months, so why hasn't been cleared to play? It is probably because concussions are unlike other injuries.
A study done by the a leading medical journal on concussions and blow to the head was summarized in an Los Angeles Times article, saying:
"A study tracking 3,439 retired players with five or more seasons in the NFL found these athletes four times as likely as other men their age to die of Alzheimer's disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Among the league's "speed players" — those who build up substantial speed before they make a tackle or are brought down by one — the odds of dying of those causes were even greater."
If Best makes a return to the field, he would be risking his life. It is more than likely that he will suffer another concussion that would likely end his career and significantly impact his overall health. No one would question Best's character or manliness if he decided to call it quits in the NFL. Concussions are not something that are taken lightly, especially in this day and age of the NFL.
When Best signed with the Lions in 2010 he signed a five-year contract worth $9.8 million. This, hopefully, should be more than enough money for Best to live comfortably for the rest of his life.
Players who make it to the NFL make it because they are relentless competitors. Best is surely craving to get back on the field, but the former Cal Bear needs to take a step back and realize what is best for his health.