Andrew Luck shocked not only Colts fans, but NFL fans nationwide, when he announced his retirement before the start of this season. The 29-year-old quarterback had been the first overall draft pick in 2012 and led the Colts to three playoff appearances in his first three years. While many thought he was in his prime, he felt otherwise and decided to retire due to the many different injuries he’s sustained over the past few years. Let’s take a look back at Andrew Luck’s injuries and decide if he made the right move.
Andrew Luck’s injuries over the years
After bringing the Colts into the playoffs for three years in a row, in 2015 Luck suffered a sprained shoulder and torn cartilage in his ribs in Week 3 against the Titans. He stayed in the game and the Colts ended up winning, but Luck missed the next two games while his shoulder healed up.
One month later, Luck took some big hits from the Denver Broncos. Again, he played through the rest of the game and won, but discovered the next morning that his injuries were more serious than he had originally thought. He had a lacerated kidney and a partially torn abdominal muscle, and he was out for the rest of the year.
When the Colts played the Titans in November of 2016, Luck suffered a concussion and once again stayed in the game to lead the team to another win. He missed one week after that.
In January of 2017, Luck underwent shoulder surgery to repair damage that began with his sprain in 2015 and had only been getting worse since. The Colts franchise was hopeful for his return, but he ultimately was placed on IR and didn’t play at all the entire season.
Andrew Luck had an incredibly successful year without any major injuries or missed games. He even won the Comeback Player of the Year.
However, in April of 2019, Luck began treating a calf strain in his right leg. He sat out of training sessions, but still remained positive about playing Week 1 until his abrupt retirement announcement in August.
Was retirement the best option?
When going over that timeline of Andrew Luck’s injuries you can see a trend of lingering issues, like the shoulder, and one-off injuries, like the concussion, that all added up for Luck. Obviously, Luck hasn’t always been in the best shape over the past few years, but people are still baffled about why he would choose retirement at such a young age and while he still has a lot to offer.
After all, in the first three years of his professional career, he was talked about with the likes of Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
Fans and fellow players have been reaching out on social media since his announcement was met with a shocking display of boos from the crowd of fans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Aaron Rodgers shared his disgust with the fans for booing, and Luck’s teammate Ty Hilton tweeted that he was dedicating this season to Luck to show support.
Injuries remain a major problem in the NFL
Each year, the NFL modifies the rules in an attempt to make the game safer for the players. This year, they permanently instated 2018’s kickoff changes after seeing a 35% reduction in concussions on kickoffs. Changes like that are a positive sign that the game is becoming safer for players, but is it enough?
Football has always been a rough sport and researchers are conducting more studies than ever on the long term effects of concussions on former NFL players.
A big problem, however, is whether or not the research is reliable. There’s a lot to lose for an organization as big as the NFL if players continue to suffer long term health problems. For now, fans can stay hopeful that the rules will continue to adjust make the game safer so we won’t have to see too many more of our favorite players retire young due to injuries.