It’s an industry where visible injuries are, for the most part, pinpointed and rectified. Torn ligaments, broken bones, damaged tendons. Deep bruises that couldn’t be prevented even by the most advanced padding available.
Every so often, though, it’s the obscured ailment that grabs professional football and forcefully horse-collars it out of bounds with no hint of a penalty flag. The shocking suicides of Dave Duerson and Junior Seau immediately come to mind.
It’s glaringly cliché to insist the news of Chuck Pagano’s fight against leukemia puts sports in its proper place, which is to say many a rung south of humankind on life’s ladder of importance.
Cliché or not, it’s true. Pagano is a husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle and so much more to those who know and love him. Family members and close friends who over the years have seen the coach with his guard lowered during everything from Christmas mornings to birthday celebrations.