Latu's Career-Ending Injury is a Shock to Everyone's System

Football giveth and taketh away as the talented UW outside linebacker found.
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Some people describe the frightening collisions that come with NFL and college football like being in a car wreck.

It's one accident scene after another.

We all celebrate the big hit. Hold our breath when someone doesn't get up right away. Accept the targeting penalties as necessary.

Like so many before him, Laiatu Latu was a gifted football player driven by his ability to dominate others and his desire to win football games for the University of Washington. There also was that lure of maybe someday pulling in a seven- or eight-digit paycheck.

The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Latu, if you remember, was ahead of Zion Tupuola-Fetui at outside linebacker on the depth chart. Always ahead of everyone in his Husky recruiting class. Maybe headed for All-Pac-12 honors and All-American mention himself. 

Laiatu Latu had a perfectly lyrical name for football stardom, the public-address system and all sorts of endorsements.

And then the game left him like some cold-hearted romance.

Likely one hit was all it took to put his body in great jeopardy.

Months of visiting medical specialists determined that too much damage was done to his neck.

Surgery was required and performed.

Three weeks ago, Latu woke up from the operation to a sobering world, as his mother posted here on social media for others to see. 

He'll have an adjustment period for getting over the disappointment of having football taken from him.

But Latu is not alone in this risky endeavor. Everyone gets hurt by the game at some point, to varying degrees. The truly unfortunate are the ones who simply don't get a second chance.

Every year, Jimmy Lake, or whoever has been the Husky coach, has had to announce that one or more of his players is finished with the game with eligibility remaining. Not by choice. Usually by a knee. 

NFL football doesn't last long for anyone but the incredibly lucky individual.

For Latu, who hails from Sacramento, California, he'll remain on scholarship and pursue his college degree. 

Lake has encouraged him to stay close to the team and work his way into coaching if he so desires. To find another football avenue, per se.

Supportive messages from fellow Huskies, past and present, have been coming in around the clock. 

They know what the game means to him. They know what the game is all about.

Football can be so unfair.

Follow Dan Raley of Husky Maven on Twitter: @DanRaley1 and @HuskyMaven

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