November 6, 2017
By: Thomas Penney

Andrew Luck was once regarded as the successor to Peyton Manning, to the point that the Colts moved on from Manning to let Luck take over as the team’s starting quarterback shortly after he was drafted, can no longer play football. After more than a year of pain, Luck opted for surgery to repair a torn labrum in January and now he cannot throw a football. After playing through the pain for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Luck is now unable to so much as practice.

The most recent word is that Luck is seeing several shoulder specialists in order to figure out where exactly the pain is coming from. It was expected that Luck would miss between 6 and 9 months to heal properly and given that it has now been 10 months, he should be taking part in practice at the very least. However, Luck has been unable to take anything resembling a step forward.

The consensus is that torn labrum surgery should be a last resort. In baseball, where this kind of thing is more common, players have a tough time returning from these kinds of injuries. This is largely because the shoulder is important in throwing a ball. With Luck being a quarterback and all, his complete inability to throw the ball borders on catastrophe for the young man’s football future.

We typically think of football being hard on the body in terms of its’ concussive effects on the brain. However, Luck is a reminder that the sport chews people up in a number of ways. Perhaps the most troubling thing is that we do not actually know how football broke Andrew Luck.

We can make inferences. The Colts’ offensive line is not so much a line as it is 5 dots trying very hard to act like a line. That has led to Luck absorbing hits that have resulted in injuries including a sprained throwing shoulder in 2015, a lacerated kidney and several pulled abdominal muscles, a torn or “frayed” labrum in his throwing shoulder, and finally, a grade 1 concussion after his head bounced off the turf in November of 2016. Between September 27, 2015 and November 20, 2016, all of these things happened to Andrew Luck’s body.

That is not to mention the many minor injuries, which do not make the reports; or any unreported concussions. What about any long-term damage from things like a damn lacerated kidney?

There is likely no way of knowing exactly what caused the severity of Luck’s shoulder tear. People in many sports regularly play through this injury much the same way Luck did. Perhaps it is simply the repeated trauma of taking massive hits from which his strictly theoretical offensive line could not protect him. A body will break down under this kind of stress.

With his shoulder in shambles, the surgically repaired tissue not responding to treatment, Luck remains on the sidelines. He seems unlikely to return this year, and frankly, his status as an NFL player going forward is in doubt. Who knows how his long-term health has already been impacted?

Photo by Mr.schultz