A Steelers Safety Won't Play In Denver Because The High Altitude Could Kill Him

Ryan Clark

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The last time Steelers safety Ryan Clark played a football game in Denver, he lost 30 lbs, nearly died, and had to have his spleen and gall bladder removed.That’s because Clark has sickle-cell trait, which restricted the flow of oxygen to his organs.

And now, four years later, coach Mike Tomlin has decided to bench Clark when the Steelers travel to Denver for a playoff game this weekend (via ESPN.com).

And despite wanting to play this year, Tomlin overruled Clark’s wishes…

“I talked to my doctors and we actually had a plan in place for me to play. All things pointed to me going until (Tomlin) told me I can’t. He said he wouldn’t have let his son play and so I’m not playing either.”

Tomlin has allowed at least one player with the same trait play in Denver in recent years. In 2009, Santonio Holmes was allowed to play in a regular season game, and Clark was benched. According to Tomlin, Clark has an additional condition that aggravates his sickle cell trait.

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