Anyone who was watching the South Carolina gamecocks play the Tennessee Volunteers just witnessed one of the most gruesome looking injuries ever to occur on the football field. In what was not an illegal or cheap or dirty hit, Lattimore was hit in his knee that immediately conjured up memories of Willis McGahee and Joe Theisman. It was that sickening to see.
Again, it was not a dirty play. It was not a late or illegal hit. It was just poor timing and placement. Lattimore’s knee was out of place, and he clearly either broke his leg or tore up his knee. Having watched football for a long time, I can honestly tell you that watching this play was harder to watch than either of the previous ones. Not to take anything away from McGahee or Theisman, but this was worse.
Personally, I felt this injury to Lattimore was made ten times worse because of what this poor kid has already had to battle back from in his career. The Gamecocks star back missed the second half of last season after tearing up his knee that required surgery. It was so tough for him to come back from that injury, both from a physical and mental standpoint. To have to go through what may be even harder is simply devastating.
I really feel for him. You could see the emotion in his eyes, as well as from his teammates. The injury was so gruesome and Lattimore is so well respected across the college football landscape that the Tennessee players also all came out onto the field to wish him well as the trainers carted him off the field. That is how much this kid means to the game.
I don’t know what will happen from here. Lattimore may never step on the football field from a competitive aspect again. The obstacles may simply be too overwhelming to overcome. I hope that is not the case, but to suffer from two such traumatizing hits in such a short time span is more than more people can handle.
All you can hope is that somehow, some day, Lattimore can overcome everything and wind up having a successful career at the next level. After all, many people doubted that McGahee would ever play again either.
A decade later, McGahee is still enjoying a productive NFL career.
I truly hope that another decade from now, we are talking about the hit that Lattimore suffered as he is still playing in the NFL for some team who would be lucky to have such a talented back, but also such a quality kid.
Get well soon, Mr. Lattimore. We all wish you the best.