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Old 11-03-2009, 01:19 PM   #1
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Default Altitude could preclude Steelers Clark from playing

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark doesn't want his career to vanish in thin air.

Clark became almost deathly ill after playing in Denver's mile-high altitude two years ago, losing his spleen and gall bladder plus 30 pounds due to medical complications that ended his season. The Steelers (5-2) play in Denver again on Monday, and Clark and coach Mike Tomlin haven't decided if he will suit up.

"His physical health, his well-being, of course, is paramount," Tomlin said Monday. "We're going to attempt to do what's right, we're going to weigh all our options and we're going to come to a decision at some point later this week."

Clark practiced Monday as the Steelers returned from a full week off, and he has received medical clearance to play.

"I think before we considered anything, we needed to hear, 'OK, Ryan, you're at no extra medical risk to participate in this game than anyone else is,' " Tomlin said. "He and I have received that, but we're still going to proceed with extreme caution. We're not going to hurry this process."

The illness was blamed on Clark having sickle cell trait, but Clark has an additional condition that aggravated the problem, according to his coach. Numerous players with sickle cell trait have played in Denver without problems, Tomlin said.

Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes found out after the Steelers' 31-28 loss in Denver in 2007 that he also has sickle cell trait, a condition in which a person inherits one of the genes of sickle cell anemia, a blood disorder. Holmes plans to play in Denver.

"Ryan is a unique case where it's the sickle cell trait in combination with some other pre-existing medical issue that creates it," Tomlin said. "Santonio is not at any unique risk, unless he, too, shares that same medical situation, which I believe at this point he does not."

Steelers safety Troy Polamalu saw Clark when he was sick, and he understands how difficult his teammate's decision is. Monday's game could prove important in determining AFC playoff seeding unless the Broncos (6-1) or Steelers go into a steep slide.

"He almost lost his life the last time we played there, so it's kind of unfair to say I would or wouldn't [play] because I didn't undergo the torture and the suffering he had to go through," Polamalu said.

Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward and several other teammates all but said they hope Clark doesn't play.

"Whatever he decides, we're going to back him. But if it was me, personally, life is more precious than football," Ward said. "Any time you miss a game and don't feel injured, you want to play because that's one game you'll never get back. But you've got to look at the big picture. There's still a lot of football left and we'd rather have Ryan for the long haul rather than the short term."

If Clark doesn't play, Tyrone Carter or Deshea Townsend probably would take his place. Carter filled in when Polamalu missed four games with a torn left knee ligament.


To help prepare for playing in Denver, Ward said he expects Steelers players, including linebacker James Harrison, Polamalu and Holmes, to spend time in a hyperbaric chamber, which is used to treat altitude sickness.

The devices are expensive -- a portable chamber costs $16,000 to $20,000-plus, and a full-sized hospital unit can cost $1 million -- but Ward refers to his as "the fountain of youth." Ward said a hyperbaric chamber promotes the production of red blood cells, thus increasing energy and accelerating the recovery time from injuries.

"A hyperbaric chamber is a lot like training in Denver," Ward said. "I'll be in there every day this week. ... They're expensive, but they're well worth the investment."

Steelers running back Willie Parker missed practice Monday due to illness, but is expected to be ready for the Monday night game.
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Old 11-03-2009, 01:24 PM   #2
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dude...stay home
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Old 11-03-2009, 01:53 PM   #3
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Hines Ward: Ryan Clark shouldn't play in Denver

Posted by Michael David Smith on November 3, 2009 12:54 PM ET
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark has the sickle-cell trait, and the last time he played at the altitude of Denver, it almost cost him his life. Clark got so sick that he lost 30 pounds, had to have his spleen and gall bladder removed, and couldn't play for the rest of the season.

Now the Steelers are preparing to play at Denver again, and Steelers receiver Hines Ward has a simple message for Clark: Don't play.

"I know he wants to be out there but life is way more precious than football," Ward said, per Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "When football ends, you can still go on and have a productive life. What Ryan went through the last time he was there, to see him lose his spleen and to come to find out it was because of the Denver trip ... if it were me, I wouldn't play. It's not even a question. But I can't speak for somebody else. I don't know how he and his family feel about the situation."

That's a sensible attitude, and it means a lot coming from Ward, one of the league's toughest players. But will Clark heed the warning and skip the game at Denver?

Clark declined to say on Monday whether he'll play against the Broncos, and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin would say only that he and Clark would make the decision together. It's possible that Clark has already decided whether he'll play, and, as J.J. Cooper of FanHouse noted, the delay in announcing whether Clark will play could simply be a matter of the Steelers not wanting to tip their hands to the Broncos.

But whatever ends up happening with Clark in Denver, the mere fact that he would consider returning to the field where he suffered such severe health problems is a stark reminder of the way professional football players routinely put their bodies on the line.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com...lay-in-denver/
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Old 11-03-2009, 01:58 PM   #4
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At least there's a legit excuse for them when Eddie and BMarsh go ape****. No offense, but this will be spun on Tuesday.
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Old 11-03-2009, 02:09 PM   #5
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The guy is just being a drama queen. He has been in Polamalu's shadow for so long this is the only way he can get some press.

I've got a message for him too; Quit being a p***Y.
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Old 11-03-2009, 02:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
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The guy is just being a drama queen. He has been in Polamalu's shadow for so long this is the only way he can get some press.

I've got a message for him too; Quit being a p***Y.
Wow, this is one of the ****tiest posts I have ever seen. The guy ALMOST DIED! He is still suffering from the same diseases that could likely finish the job if he plays again.

How about you quit being a p***Y and go jump off a cliff?
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Old 11-03-2009, 03:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenverBound View Post
The guy is just being a drama queen. He has been in Polamalu's shadow for so long this is the only way he can get some press.

I've got a message for him too; Quit being a p***Y.
Your post is the WORST post I've seen on here.
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Old 11-03-2009, 04:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doggcow View Post
Wow, this is one of the ****tiest posts I have ever seen. The guy ALMOST DIED! He is still suffering from the same diseases that could likely finish the job if he plays again.

How about you quit being a p***Y and go jump off a cliff?


Why don't you cry some more. Is it pretty hard to get that sand out of your VaJay Jay?

You think I give a **** if this guy plays or not? They are making this into this huge thing when in reality it will just be an excuse when they lose. Go bleed somewhere else.
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Old 11-03-2009, 04:13 PM   #9
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wow.... Thats crazy... I know most of the time, football is a macho thing but this isnt where you show how tough you are... I feel for the dude... Stay off the field bro.... Life proceeds any decision. I dont think anyone in their right mind would question his toughness if he sits out. This is ashame but such a no brainer!!
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Old 11-03-2009, 05:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenverBound View Post
Why don't you cry some more. Is it pretty hard to get that sand out of your VaJay Jay?

You think I give a **** if this guy plays or not? They are making this into this huge thing when in reality it will just be an excuse when they lose. Go bleed somewhere else.
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Old 11-03-2009, 07:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenverBound View Post
Why don't you cry some more. Is it pretty hard to get that sand out of your VaJay Jay?

You think I give a **** if this guy plays or not? They are making this into this huge thing when in reality it will just be an excuse when they lose. Go bleed somewhere else.
Quit being a p***Y and stab yourself in the spleen.
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Old 11-03-2009, 08:07 PM   #12
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Well that turned into a ****fest pretty quick.
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Old 11-03-2009, 08:21 PM   #13
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Well that turned into a ****fest pretty quick.
haha. Maybe the OP can restart the thread.
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