View Full Version : Pollack Injury Very Much Career Threatening

10-07-2006, 07:02 PM
It's a horrible thing to see...the guy's a real class act...hopefully everything will work out for him one way or another.
Pollack's neck healing, future unclear
NFL.com wire reports

CINCINNATI (Oct. 5, 2006) -- Bengals linebacker David Pollack will know in a couple of months whether the cracked bone in his neck is healing properly or whether he'll need career-ending surgery to fix it.

In his first interview since the injury, Pollack said that he has to wear a halo brace for two more months. If the cracked vertebra has healed by then, he can start rehabilitation and eventually resume his career.

"If it heals by itself, then I'm fine," he told writers in a conference call from his Cincinnati-area home. "It's just a matter of how it heals. If it doesn't heal properly, then I'll have to have surgery."

Surgery would involve fusing vertebrae in the neck, a career-ending procedure.

"One doctor said it: Not very many people walk away from a broken neck twice," Pollack said. "And that's something that kind of hits home, you know.

"When you fuse two vertebrae together, the likelihood for injury is greatly increased."

The former first-round draft pick was injured while tackling Cleveland's Reuben Droughns during the Bengals' 34-17 victory on Sept. 17 at Paul Brown Stadium. At first, he thought he'd only pinched a nerve -- a so-called "stinger" -- on the tackle.

"I couldn't really feel my arms for a little while. That was scary," he said. "I knew something was wrong. I assumed it was a real bad stinger because I had tingling from my neck to my fingertips."

Pollack could move his arms and legs when he was taken off the field on a protective back board. X-rays and a magnetic resonance imaging test detected the cracked bone.

"When you hear you broke your neck, it sounds kind of bad," Pollack said. When they told me I fractured my C-6 (vertebra), it was kind of -- I don't know. I had a lot of peace. I never cried once."

Recent X-rays indicated that the bone is healing. He is still feeling effects from the injury.

"My first two fingers on my left hand are still kind of numb on the fingertips, and I can't feel things a lot of times," he said. "But that's starting to come back. I'm starting to feel more and more stuff."

Even if the bone heals without surgery, Pollack faces a long rehabilitation.

"It definitely wouldn't be lengthy enough to miss the whole of next season," he said. "But like I said, let's worry about that when I get to it. I've got more important things to be worried about."

The halo brace is screwed into Pollack's skull, immobilizing his neck. While he wears the brace, he's essentially housebound.

"I wake up, play video games, basically sit around the house all day," he said. "There's not much I can do. I really can't go out. I go to the doctor's office once a week and get X-rays, get my halo tightened and my screws tightened and everything."

The brace prevents him from putting his head on a pillow at night.

"That's one of the roughest parts, the part I probably struggle with the most," he said. "I probably don't sleep about four hours a night."

Pollack got choked up when he talked about how his wife, Lindsey, cleans his head every day and does all of the chores he can no longer accomplish because of the brace.

"I can't deal without crying right now," he said in mid-sentence.

Pollack, the 17th overall pick out of Georgia last year, got a late start on his rookie season because of a contract dispute. A sprained knee also slowed his transition from defensive end to linebacker. This year, a pulled hamstring during training camp set him back.

There was no self-pity when he talked about his latest setback.

"Coming into this year, I wanted to be a Pro Bowler," he said. "I had a bunch of goals I wanted to reach. But that's not something I look at and go, 'Dang, why me?' I could be homeless on the street looking for a way to feed myself and looking for a way to pay the rent. I'm just so blessed and fortunate."

10-07-2006, 07:15 PM
That's one young man I hope to see in a Bengals uniform.....any uniform again. And if not, I think he'll do fine. Things like this change how you look at everything. He will find a new purpose, new goals and his life will be richer for the experience. I'm sure he and his whole family are greatful he will walk again. I dated a man once that broke his neck in a car accident.....had the halo, too. He healed and went on to continue to play softball every summer....but he lived in constant pain. He said he would keep living life fully until the surgery kept him from doing what he wanted.

Hope all turns out well for this Bengal.

10-07-2006, 07:46 PM
Blessings to him and his family.