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Hey, What's A Little Finger?

doctors and athletic trainers were performing on Jacques Reeves at the bench. He had dislocated his right elbow and had "stumbled to the sidelines in excruciating pain."  

By her description of the scene, it was quite obvious that his arm was in fact dislocated, saying, "It's going out at a weird angle." Her next report was even more graphic as she alerted our listeners that Dr. Cooper was now attempting to "pop it back into place." A vision of popping a battery back into its slot on the back of a camera came to mind.  

Yes, relocating a dislocated joint, is accomplished by slipping (or popping) the bone back into the natural slot, just like an errant battery finding its "home." Her next comment was telltale: "It's a gruesome procedure, as all of the players had to turn their eyes away as they attempted to slot it back."  

I was very proud of Kristi for sticking with it. I never asked if she too turned her head. 

This time of the year the players will make every effort to play. The only way they are even held together well enough to get out there on the field is because of the athletic trainers who dedicate their lives to this team and its players.  

The hundreds of hours treating the bumps, bruises and sprains do not go unnoticed or unappreciated by the players. I could not have ever made it in the league had it not been for these unsung heroes who were constantly pampering me with massages, electric stimulation or acupuncture.  

They were always there. Whatever time I came in and whatever time I left, the dedicated athletic trainers from our era, Don Cochran, Larry Gardner and Ken Locker, were always there to lend a helping hand. 

Rarely do the athletic trainers get acknowledged for their work and dedication. The athletic trainers I have come in contact with are so humble and giving, I doubt if they are even concerned about lack of credit.  

Dallas' Jim Maurer, head athletic trainer, associate Britt Brown and assistant Greg Gaither are no different. They are selfless and always ready to help the player with whatever he needs. 

There are just not enough accolades and praise handed out to do them justice. The trainers are the original unsung heroes. 

Each press conference, Coach Parcells starts with an update about injuries. Rarely are reports about injuries made. Being a bit superstitious, the coach turns looking for some wood to knock on. Maurer humbly credits luck, as well. 

Because they spend so much time with the players, the athletic trainers can gauge the state of mind of every player. They know if the players are ready physically and they know if they are ready emotionally.  

While icing their body after practice, the athletic trainer's room is like a beauty parlor. They hear all of the gossip, all of the problems, and all of the claims.  

They are the player's mother, coach, psychiatrist, hypnotist, witch doctor and confidant; all the while of performing miracles on their bodies to get these gladiators ready to get beat up again next week. 

The health and readiness, both physically and emotionally, of the players should be credited to strength and conditioning coach, Joe Juraszek and his staff, along with the trainers. If the player is not healthy, somehow, someway, these guys get them ready to play. 

In this era of professional athletes taking an entitlement approach to just about everything, it is refreshing to know these spoiled athletes truly appreciate what the athletic trainers do for them. 

And the athletic trainers will try just about anything to keep them ready. They have been presented with everything from the latest and proven laser therapy to "concoctions I would rather not discuss," says Jim. 

One such "off-limit-concoction" that does have merit is the dieffenbachia plant. It's an ancient herb used by the Mayans to help keep peace in the home. The leaf of the dieffenbachia has an active chemical that performs like a numbing agent. The active ingredient would numb the vocal cords and force the cords to not function for the next 6 to 8 hours. 

Maybe this plant should find its way into Terrell Owens' mouthwash. 

Just a

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