A player who spends an inordinate amount of time in the training room may want to quit.

Kevin D. Plancher, MD, is a Clinical Professor in Orthopaedics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, and a team physician for the New York Lizards Major League Lacrosse Team.

Plancher has found that one common explanation for players who routinely ask out of games – or spend an inordinate amount of time in the trainer’s room – is the player doesn’t want to play football at all.

“In that case, you have to worry about a father that wants his son to play football, and the kid doesn’t want to play,” Plancher said. “You have to understand the relationship the player has with the coach to know if he’s excited to play the game. Someone who goes into the training room all of the time, I’m suspicious that he doesn’t want to play the game.”

Identifying which players are on the team in body but not necessarily in spirit can be easier for coaches who establish strong relationships with their players.

“Very few players are going to play beyond high school, so it’s important the coach has an understanding that this may be the end of the road for that player’s career,” Plancher said.

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Dan Guttenplan