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The Rouge: Is a CFL player obligated to disclose an injury?

Paul Hoogkamp - TSN.ca Staff

8/16/2010 9:36:44 AM

Imagine you're a bubble player on a CFL team and you have an injury that should keep you out of the lineup. Do you tell your teammates? Do you tell the trainer? Do you tell the head coach?

It's one of those moral dilemmas that CFL players face throughout their careers but is there a right answer? Is a player obligated to disclose an injury?

Saskatchewan Roughriders' quarterback Darian Durant has been battling a mysterious virus recently and admitted he didn't have enough in the tank at the end of the Riders' loss to the Alouettes in Week 6.

"I just wasn't myself," said Durant. "I made some plays, but in the fourth quarter I just didn't have enough strength to get out of the pocket. I just wish I would have been my normal self, because the fourth quarter is where we thrive."

Star players like Durant should be comfortable enough to go to the training staff and let them know they're not 100%. They know they won't lose their job due to injury so they want to get healthy as soon as possible and return to the lineup.

But what if your CFL career is week-to-week? If you suffer an injury, especially one that occurred away from the field, it could spell the end of your time with that team or maybe even your career in the league. What do you do then?

On a recent edition of the CFL Roundtable, CFL on TSN analyst Jock Climie shared a story in which a former teammate tore his hamstring while playing beach volleyball on an off-day. No head coach would want to hear that from a bubble player. He would likely be gone. But if he doesn't say anything and the head coach eventually finds out, he's definitely gone.

Climie said none of the other teammates who knew about the injury mentioned it to anyone on the staff, which is not surprising considering the camaraderie that exists in pro football.

The player went down with the aforementioned hamstring injury on the first play of the next game, leaving his team shorthanded for the rest of the contest. That is not an ideal situation in a league that uses a 42-man roster. By not disclosing the injury, he hurt his team because had the training staff known about it, he could have been replaced with a healthy body.

So when is it the right decision to disclose an injury that you know will leave you well below top form for the upcoming game?

Climie knows the answer in a perfect world but admits that when it becomes a personal situation, players may feel that full disclosure is not always the best option.

"The answer is, 'When your condition will negatively impact the team' but I know I did it," said Climie.

Simply put, when it comes down to your own survival in the league, you're put between a rock and a hard place. Do you tell the truth and jeopardize your own future? Or do you stay quiet and jeopardize the success of your team?

Is a player obligated to disclose an injury? It's Your Call.