When most athletes suffer the same injury multiple times, they decide their bodies cannot handle their sport anymore and choose to retire. It’s a hard decision to walk away from the game you love when your body can’t seem to hold up anymore. For many, retirement would have come for Thomas Davis after the second time he tore his ACL, but to tear it a third time???
That’s insane dedication. That’s a player who wants to compete every day he has been given breath. That’s just who Thomas Davis is. So after tearing his ACL each of the last three seasons, the 29-year-old linebacker is making a comeback with his career team, the Carolina Panthers.
“The third (tear) was probably the lowest of lows,” Thomas recalls. “You know everything you’ve done to get back form the second one, now you’re facing the third.” So instead of worrying about the team or things out of his control, Thomas competed in rehab to get back to where he was. He focused on what he could control – his rehab and his attitude.
Thomas spent endless hours grinding through rehab to take another shot at the NFL – three different times. This offseason, he restructured his contract and the $8 million bonus he was due to take a league minimum salary so he could stay in Carolina and prove he still had what it takes to compete on an NFL field every Sunday.
According to the American Journal of Sports Medicine, only 63% of NFL players return to play after suffering a torn ACL. In other words, it’s uncanny what Thomas has done. In his return to the Panthers this year, Thomas has 15 tackles while playing in spot situation alongside Jon Beason, Luke Kuechly, and James Anderson. It’s a story of overcoming adversity at its finest and returning to the goal you’d always had your eyes set on.
Simply because he chose to compete every day.