Rams legend Jack Youngblood might really feel Patrick Mahomes’ ache

The ankle sprain was so extreme that the ache lined a distance that could possibly be measured in each miles and years.

The pictures of Patrick Mahomes traveled all the best way from Kansas City, arriving on Jack Youngblood’s tv down in Florida as a reminder of an identical scene greater than 4 a long time previous.

“He was wound up on the sidelines,” Youngblood mentioned. “Did you see him? He was going, ‘No, no, hell no!’ He’s like I was and still am — as hard-headed as a 7-year-old.”

Mahomes’ animated response to being pulled from the Chiefs’ divisional spherical victory over Jacksonville final month punctuated how decided he was to push via his harm.

And he did return, lacking just one sequence in opposition to the Jaguars after which enjoying each offensive snap in Kansas City’s AFC championship recreation win over Cincinnati, Mahomes limping badly at instances however finally marching on.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) limps again to the huddle after injuring his ankle in opposition to the Jaguars.

(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

A high-ankle sprain couldn’t cease him any greater than a damaged tibia might thwart Youngblood through the 1979 playoffs, the previous Rams defensive finish enjoying 2½ video games — together with Super Bowl XIV — on a fractured leg.

“People to this day ask me about it,” Youngblood mentioned. “I’ll see someone in the airport and it’s, ‘How the hell did you keep playing?’ These are people I don’t even know. I laugh and say, ‘I have no idea. I haven’t figured that one out yet.’ ”

In a league so dedicated to honoring custom that its most vital recreation nonetheless carries Roman numerals, the NFL has a notable historical past of gamers ignoring accidents to take part within the Super Bowl.

Among so many others, Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis had a damaged arm, Philadelphia broad receiver Terrell Owens a damaged leg and and torn ankle ligament, and New England quarterback Tom Brady a lacerated hand.

New York Giants broad receiver Plaxico Burress caught the successful landing within the ultimate minute of Super Bowl XLII regardless of two dangerous ankles, a separated shoulder, a torn pinky ligament and a sprained knee.

“That’s the ultimate game,” Dwight Freeney mentioned. “If I can walk a little bit and my coaches let me play, I’m playing. That’s just what it is. That’s the kind of mentality guys have. It’s that big of a moment.”

So Freeney performed, too, the previous Indianapolis cross rusher even recording a sack in Super Bowl XLIV on an ankle sprain he now describes as “absolutely terrible.”

On Sunday, Mahomes gained’t be alone in making an attempt to handle his ailing physique via — not less than — 4 extra quarters. There shall be loads of others, together with Philadelphia’s Lane Johnson.

The All-Pro proper deal with on Christmas Eve suffered a torn adductor (groin) harm important sufficient to require surgical procedure. When Johnson realized of the severity, Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland mentioned the 10-year veteran cried.

But Johnson stiff-armed the operation in favor of resting and rehabbing to the purpose the place he might return for the playoffs.

“I knew we had a talented team and a chance to be a great team,” he mentioned this week. “As you get older and your career goes down the line, your opportunities get limited. I knew I had to try to seize this chance.”

Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson (65) reacts against the Giants during the NFC divisional playoffs.

Eagles offensive deal with Lane Johnson (65) reacts in opposition to the Giants through the NFC divisional playoffs. He delayed surgical procedure for an harm suffered on Christmas Eve, rested and returned for the playoffs.

(Matt Slocum / Associated Press)

Understanding ache administration first requires understanding ache, one thing Dr. Vernon Williams does higher than most because the founding director of the Center for Sports Neurology and Pain Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute.

He defined that areas of harm transmit electrical alerts by way of the nervous system via the spinal wire to the mind. It is the mind that then produces ache, usually as a protection response to guard the physique.

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But the quantity of ache skilled might be influenced by rather more than simply the participant’s harm. There is every little thing that’s taking place across the participant to think about as properly.

“It’s a real and interesting phenomenon,” Williams mentioned. “The thing to remember is there’s not a one-to-one relationship between tissue damage or tissue injury and the amount of pain a person feels.

“Pain is individual, and it’s informed by a lot of things like emotional context and the environment. That’s why we can see some of these extraordinary feats where you go, ‘How is this possible?’ ”

Playing on his damaged leg, Youngblood recalled feeling ache within the huddle and strolling round earlier than the ball was snapped. He mentioned the feeling all of the sudden disappeared the second he reached the road of scrimmage and positioned his hand on the bottom.

Calling it “kind of shocking,” Youngblood mentioned he quickly realized there was a psychological facet to one thing in any other case fully bodily as he and his teammates chased what would have been the Rams’ first Super Bowl win.

Williams defined that Youngblood was experiencing the influence of his environment, environment as important as any an NFL participant can encounter.

“The situation might be such that the motivation is so strong, the emotional environment so tipped in the direction of ‘I must perform’ that one can manage and overcome those electrical signals,” he mentioned.

“It’s really the emotional context that those signals arrive at in the brain as to whether there’s incapacitating pain, moderate pain or there’s pain, yes, but pain where one can overcome and continue to perform.

“I can tell you, the scenario is going to be different if it’s an injury in practice on a team that’s not going to make it to the playoffs compared to a team that’s heading to the Super Bowl.”

Though Youngblood retired almost 40 years in the past, his stays essentially the most well-known of the NFL’s broken-body Super Bowl tales. He was damage late within the first half of the Rams’ divisional spherical win at Dallas.

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Upon retreating to the locker room, Youngblood mentioned X-rays had been taken earlier than he consulted with longtime Rams doctor Clarence Shields.

“Dr. Shields sticks the picture in the light board and says, ‘See right there. You broke the tibia,’ ” Youngblood recalled. “I said, ‘Yeah, Clarence, I can see that. Now, tape the damn thing up. We got 30 minutes to win this ballgame.’ ”

Jack Youngblood

Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw seems downfield because the Rams’ Jack Youngblood pursues throughout Super Bowl XIV.

(Bettmann / Bettmann Archive)

Estimating that he was at 90% bodily, Youngblood completed the sport in opposition to the Cowboys after which helped the Rams shut out Tampa Bay 9-0 for the NFC championship.

He wore an additional plastic pad to guard his leg throughout video games and barely practiced. Youngblood mentioned he took “several injections to try to keep the swelling down” and was administered aspirin.

“OK,” he mentioned, laughing, “maybe it was a little stronger than aspirin.”

Against Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XIV, the Rams took a lead into the fourth quarter earlier than falling 31-19 on the Rose Bowl.

Youngblood mentioned the motivation of enjoying for a title definitely drove him — however not as a lot as enjoying for his teammates did.

“I loved my team,” he mentioned. “On top of that, I was a captain. I was the leader of the defense. Playing was my responsibility. I had to give every ounce of energy and determination that I could put on that field for 60 minutes.”

And his willpower didn’t cease there. Every week after the Super Bowl, Youngblood and his fractured tibia confirmed up in Hawaii to take part within the Pro Bowl, an exhibition that lacked significance however supplied alternative.

When one of many NFC coaches noticed Youngblood, he questioned why the injured seven-time Pro Bowler was even on the occasion.

“I told him, ‘I just played 19 ballgames. You think I’m gonna miss this party?’ ” Youngblood mentioned, laughing once more. “He looked at me like I was either sick or crazy.”

So, all these years later, Youngblood is readying to look at one other set of gamers grit their means via the NFL’s final recreation, the group together with Kansas City’s star quarterback.

Known for this potential to flee defenders, Mahomes now is also proving he might be fairly adept at eluding ache.

“I’m so proud of that child,” Youngblood mentioned. “His fortitude. His determination. His leadership. His spirit. I mean, every time he snaps that ball, he wants to win, no matter how he’s feeling. I admire that, tremendously.”