New York Jets tight end Neal Sterling suffered a concussion during yesterday’s game against the Chicago Bears. The concussion is the second one suffered by Sterling in the 2018 season, and is likely to keep Sterling out of the lineup for multiple weeks. Two concussions in relatively short succession is a very concerning development. Given that we have already reached the halfway point in the season, and given the NFL’s recent emphasis on safety with regard to head injuries, and given Sterling has seemingly been surpassed as the Jets primary tight end by Chris Herndon, it would not be entirely surprising if Sterling were to eventually be placed on the injured reserve list.
If this injury ends Sterling’s season it would be a major setback for a player who had in training camp finally earned a starting job in the league for the first time in his career. Of far more importance, however, is Neal Sterling’s long term health. While playing in the NFL is a dream job for many, it comes with the inevitable risk of serious, debilitating and sometimes permanent injury. Head injuries are particularly pernicious, sometimes resulting in permanent brain damage. There comes a time when it may be the best thing to walk away from the game you love in favor of leading a long and healthy life. Only Sterling, in consultation with his doctors, knows if that time is approaching for the Jets tight end. Whatever the future may hold for Sterling, we all join in wishing Neal a full recovery and good health for years to come.