Had a chance to visit with Justin Buckwalter earlier this week about his all too short career. I’ve always enjoyed this guy–easy to talk to, competitive, yet classy. And pretty easy going away from the FB field. Guys like him make me enjoy the job, so it was a real kick to the shorts to hear that he was hanging up the cleats.
I guess we saw it coming, a lineman with back problems seldom gets back close to 100 percent, and it reminded me of Mark Sanders, another story of senior year gone bad. Those linemen just take such a pounding, makes you wonder how those 15 year NFL vets can even walk when it’s over.
As far as his injury, it was a wearing down process according to Scott Woken, who knows his stuff. The squat lift that caused the injury just blew up an existing condition, but I’m still thinking in the end that it really was a career cut short by a lifting exercise. So from an outsiders perspective I have to wonder why they max out on squats. My experience with the exercise is limited to high jumping training in college–the most I ever did was probably 225, but even at that weight you realize that the squat just crushes you. After I did those, I couldn’t do much else and my legs were pretty wobbly going up the stairs. It’s so much weight (at their level, not mine) that you wonder why you don’t hear about these injuries more often. Phil Hansen told me today that he never did a squat in the NFL, they did other things.
This is not a call for overreaction — to ban all squats immediately. And in case you’re wondering, I’m not saying the NDSU staff and Jim Kramer (who’s really good at what he does) made a mistake here–they know a lot more about this stuff than me.
But until someone convinces me otherwise, I believe that while maxes are probably ok for most exercises, there’s just too much risk to max out at the squat rack.