Open Letter to Donovan McNabb
I am writing this letter to you not out of criticism, rather I am writing because I am concerned about you. I am very worried that something is physically and maybe even psychologically wrong with you.
You see, in my 30-some years of life, I have watched a lot of football games. Actually, I will venture to say that I have watched more football games already, than most people will watch in a lifetime. I have also had the opportunity to train countless numbers of football players over the years. I have trained players in the midget football system at 8 years old all the way up to old timers in the NFL. I have always taken pride in the fact that the players I worked with were in the best physical condition possible during the season. You see, my job was to make sure these guys were machines during the whole entire game. Even when our 17 year old quarter back would scramble and run for 60 plus yards, he was always able to recover quickly and run the next play with no problem. Furthermore, he was able to play defense the very next series when needed too. This is not an isolated example, but more the norm when players are conditioned “correctly”.
I know for a fact that you have a very intense conditioning program during the off-season, and I know that you probably show up to camp during the summer in better condition than most of the team. If only games were played during camp. It is my understanding from countless hours in exercise physiology class, and even more hours working directly with athletes, that de-conditioning occurs at a much faster rate than it takes to actually properly condition your body. For example, each day that you don’t run sprints with the team; your heart rate might actually increase up to a ½ a beat per day. This means that your heart will have to work harder than it did the day before to deliver needed oxygen to the muscles in the body. If enough days go by, your heart will not be able to do its job and you will hit the “wall.” When this happens, muscles don’t work as well, and performance goes way down. Add extreme heat to this, and things really go down hill fast. Being in proper game condition can and will prevent all of this from happening most of the time.
Why am I telling you this? I have witnessed more than once over the last few years that you seem to suffer during games when you have to overexert yourself more than a few plays at a time. This suffering affects the quality of your play greatly. Since I know that you are in top condition, and I also know that a 17 year old can do 3 times that amount of running and still perform at a high level without taking a break, and without vomiting, even in the biggest games, then there must be something wrong with you medically or even psychologically.
Please get yourself checked out to make sure you don’t have some strange disease. Maybe you are not able to process your carbs well, or energy yielding fats effectively. I assume you eat the right way too. Maybe you have some other condition that no one knows about. Either way, get yourself checked out. I once had a high school football player that had almost the same exact problem as you. I almost sent him for medical tests to find out what was wrong. Instead, I tried something else, something more obvious and to some, extreme…I made this player stay after practice and RUN sprints with the team and then some extra with me after the team was done. It was just a hunch, but something weird happened…after 2 weeks of “running sprints” and conditioning with the team, his problem went away.
So, you might want to try that option first and my guess is maybe things will clear up and your “problem” will go away. If not, get yourself to the doctor ASAP.