Roethlisberger hurt in motorcycle crash
June 13: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is in serious but stable condition after breaking his jaw and nose in a motorcycle crash. NBC's Mike Taibbi reports.
The list is startling, mainly because it is so long.
Jason Williams may never play in the NBA again because he couldn’t stay off his motorcycle. A ride on his bike in a parking lot cost Kellen Winslow Jr. $3 million and nearly his career with the Cleveland Browns.
Dennis Rodman wrecked his twice, the second time in front of a strip club for added effect.
And now Ben Roethlisberger is in a Pittsburgh hospital recovering after seven hours of surgery for a broken jaw, nose and who knows what else after his bike hit a car.
Not just any bike. He was riding the fastest street-legal motorcycle you can buy.
Without a helmet.
Not the brightest thing to do. So dumb, in fact, that even fellow Suzuki Hayabusa riders were shaking their heads.
“Wear a helmet on the field, but not on a bike?? Makes no sense to me,” one wrote on a ‘Busa message board.
Doesn’t make much sense to anyone, especially the Pittsburgh Steelers, who lectured their young quarterback to no avail about his motorcycle habits. Of course, had the Steelers shown some backbone and put a clause in Roethlisberger’s contract prohibiting motorcycle riding, he might not be in the hospital today.
Just what is it about these men and their machines? More to the point, what is it that makes Roethlisberger want to drive the Pittsburgh streets with his hair flowing in the wind on a motorcycle that reaches 139 mph in the quarter mile?
Taking hits from Ray Lewis can ruin your day. Taking them from a Chrysler New Yorker can ruin your life.
“What I say about motorcycles is that concrete is undefeated,” Porter said.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of athletes who can’t seem to figure that out. Roethlisberger was one of those, insisting on riding his bike even after Winslow crashed his last year and was hurt so bad that his young career was in jeopardy.
Steelers coach Bill Cowher used the Winslow accident to caution his quarterback, apparently to no avail. Maybe he should have tacked up a list of athletes injured in motorcycle crashes above Roethlisberger’s locker to get his attention.
Topping that list would be Williams who, like Roethlisberger, had the world at his feet after a fine rookie season with the Chicago Bulls. Shortly after the season ended, Williams crashed his new motorcycle into a light pole, fractured his pelvis, tore knee ligaments and damaged nerves in his left leg.
The Bulls released him, and the former No. 2 draft pick hasn’t played in the NBA since.
The list goes on, littered with names and lost careers. Even the Herminator wasn’t immune, breaking both legs in a 2001 wreck and nearly losing one. Olympic skier Hermann Maier was told he would never walk again, though he came back to win two medals this year at the Turin Games.
Whether Roethlisberger can come back won’t be known for months, maybe years. His mother cried as she entered the hospital Monday, and most of Pittsburgh was crying along with her at the possible loss of the quarterback who helped win them win the Super Bowl.
At the age of 24, Roethlisberger seemed to have everything. He was rich, loved by Steelers fans and already had one Super Bowl ring on his finger.
He risked it all because he couldn’t stay off a motorcycle, and wouldn’t put on a helmet. The urge to ride and the feeling that you’re indestructible is a bad combination.
Athletes by their very nature tend to be risk takers. Some get their rush on motorcycles, others turn to alcohol and drugs. Still others — John Daly and Charles Barkley come to mind — get their kicks by betting millions of dollars in casinos.
According to a report in Psychology Today, researchers believe this behavior is more than a simple death wish. The need to take risks may be something addictive deep in their brains linked to arousal and pleasure.
Some risk, of course, is necessary in life. Without risk, the new world wouldn’t have been discovered and man would have never landed on the moon.
But those were calculated risks, undertaken with a final goal in mind. Riding a souped-up motorcycle without a helmet doesn’t qualify, unless landing in the hospital counts as a goal.
Roethlisberger was lucky to escape with his life. Steelers fans will consider themselves lucky if he makes it back on the field.
If he had only listened when former Steelers great Terry Bradshaw gave him the simplest advice last season.
“Ride it when you retire,” Bradshaw said.
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