“Debate This!” is a recurring feature on this site wherein two authors take opposing views on a topic relating to Notre Dame athletics. Today, we examine Corey Robinson’s football future in light of the disclosure of repeated concussions over the past few football seasons.
Corey Robinson’s football playing days should be over. I make this assertion not because I think he’ll hear my advice (he doesn’t follow me on Twitter), nor because he’s short on mentors (his father’s face rings a bell), but because it’s in his best interest as an individual. Should you disagree with my conclusion above, I’ll happily give you my reasoning for your consideration:
Football is a Platform
Notre Dame Football is a grand stage, but it’s and end in itself as well as a means to a greater end. It’s why the program espouses the “4 for 40” slogan — the four undergraduate years in South Bend provide an inflection point to a life of greatness. For some, that translates to athletic success in the National Football League. Yet there are countless others who seek success elsewhere — you can look at Jeff Samardjiza on the pitcher’s mound in Major League Baseball, or as far afield as Steve Elmer‘s recent foray into political consulting.
Life After Football
If Corey Robinson hangs them up, “life after football” has already begun. As student body president, he has a unique set of responsibilities before him this coming academic year. Those finicky admissions folks strive to balance a well-rounded class each year, and Robinson’s an embodiment of this diversity of interests. I have no doubt that he’d deftly juggle both tasks with equal aplomb, but there’s no gaping void if he steps away from football — he’ll merely fill that time with similar work that leverages his work ethic and desire for leadership.
Return on Investment
As with any endeavor (athletic or otherwise), football is a labor-intensive process. The hard work is done behind the scenes and away from the bright lights. Improvement (and recovery) are accomplished in relative obscurity. Football may be a mental game, but it’s a physical one as well. There’s a far greater likelihood that Robinson’s history of concussions would manifest itself in practice rather than in a game. The long-term risk of persisting mental health is too significant to be cast aside. The dude caught the go-ahead pass vs. USC last fall…he’s done his fair share in my book.
My Advice to Corey Robinson
From a financial standpoint, if you’re having second thoughts about football this year, NFL scouts will pick up on that and your draft status will suffer. If you *really* want to go on one last ride with your football brethren, that’s your prerogative. But I perceive you have much more than football that you want to accomplish in life. In the past year you’ve started a non-profit, studied abroad, and successfully run for student government. You’re not quitting as much as you’re refocusing your energies into activities that are even more fulfilling than football.
Time, and its passage, changes all things. There’s no shame in acknowledging new seasons in life and adjusting priorities accordingly. Most of us do not get to set our terms on when we walk away from a job or an athletic career. In your early 20s, this is a new phenomenon…but it’ll become a bit more familiar as life moves along. If you’ve given football your best and your body and external forces still won’t cooperate, what else is there to do?