In 2011, Alex Mack, who played center for the Cleveland Browns at the time, felt like he had the flu or strep throat om gameday against the Tennessee Titans. It made sense considering his running back teammate Peyton Hills sat out the week prior because of strep.
However, it turned out to be a lot more serious condition that Mack was playing through. Mack was playing with appendicitis that Sunday and has an appendectomy on Monday.
The 6-foot-4, 310-pound Mack hadn’t missed a single play since the Browns drafted him in the first round in 2009, starting 36 consecutive games
What is Appendicitis?
If you have never had appendicitis, then you are one lucky duck.
Appendicitis is a sharp pain in the right lower part of the abdomen. The pain tends to be more constant and severe than the dull, aching pain that occurs when symptoms start. Common symptoms one may experience are vomiting, abdominal pain, low fever, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea, and difficulty passing gas.
If you don’t get treatment for an inflamed appendix right away, then it can rupture and release dangerous bacteria into your abdomen. Having a ruptured appendix is a life-threatening situation. Although ruptures rarely happen within the first 24 hours of symptoms, the risks of rupture rise dramatically after 48 hours after symptoms.
Some have even described the pain as “knives mercilessly carving up my insides.”
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Mack is ‘Tough As Nails’
Mack played all 87 snaps, never coming off of the field during the Browns’ 31-13 loss to the Titans.
“He’s tough as nails because he was feeling a little queasy during the game, too,” right tackle Tony Pashos said back in 2011. “I was over there last night watching Sunday night football with him and he was talking about some issues then, too, and I was like ‘maybe it’s just something you ate.’”
The following week the Browns had a bye which gave Mack time to rest, but even then his teammates said he wouldn’t have missed the game if they happened to have been playing.
And due to the bye-week, Mack didn’t miss a game after his surgery.
Mack Also Played Super Bowl 51 With a Broke Leg
This might explain why the Atlanta Falcons lost Super Bowl 51…kidding! But, seriously.
Mack suffered the fracture during the NFC Game against the Packers before Super Bowl. It was described as a “chip fracture” above the plate Mack had inserted in his leg when he first broke the fibula in 2014.
Mack played every snap and was able to rush for 104 yards during the Super Bowl where the Falcons blew their infamous 28-3 lead to you-know-who.
Mack is entering his 12th season with the Falcons. The six-time Pro Bowl, All-Pro center turns 35 this year and if you think this is his ‘last dance,’ then you are mistaken.
“Going into Year 12, I feel pretty good and excited for it, ready to take it on,” Mack told ESPN.
“The future is unknown, and that’s the way I’m looking at it. Every year is one year at a time: keep going, prepare, and play, and do everything as best as I can.”
It clearly will take a tractor-trailer to run over Mack’s legs for his career to be over.