A few years ago, former Duke standout Jay Williams was involved in a motorcycle accident that broke most of his body and ended his career in professional basketball. The only upside of this tragic event was that it served as yet another reminder that man is mortal, and maybe other people -- particularly other professional athletes -- would practice greater motorcycle safety.

The only message Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got was that accidents are what happen to the other guy. Not only did he keep riding his motorcycle (something that is often expressly forbidden in pro conracts, as it was in Williams' case), he kept riding it without a helmet.
When asked about why he didn't wear a helmet, Big Ben once said:

Because you don't have to. It's not the law. If it was the law, I'd definitely have one on every time I rode. But it's the law and I know I don't have to and you're just more free when you're out there with no helmet on...I don't think its as much of a risk as people make it out to be.
It's pretty easy to be nonchalant about these things before you have an accident. I have a feeling his attitude is about to change. Colliding with a motorist, busting your face (including a broken jaw and nose), and going through seven hours of reconstructive surgery will do that for you. But hey, lifelong scarring and disfigurement is sometimes the price you pay...for freedom.

The 2006-07 Ben Roethlisberger poster.
Broken pieces not included.

After the accident was reported, it took about 12 seconds for someone to put a "Ben Roethlisberger Replica Motorcycle Helmet" up for auction on eBay:

Big Ben Helmet
Nice helmet, Ben.

The item description reads as follows:
This box contains an exact replica of the helmet that Ben Roethlisberger was wearing when he crashed his motorcycle on Monday, June 12, 2006.
Inappropriate? Maybe. A little tasteless? Probably. Funny? Absolutely.

By the way, Charlie Batch, the Steeler's backup quarterback, was one of the first people to visit Roethlisberger in the hospital. Talk about a bag of mixed emotions. On the one hand, you want to make sure your teammate is okay, but on the other...you know it could be your time. I have a feeling Batch was taking notes on hospital security and figuring out whether he could slip something into Ben's IV.

Toughtastic Extra: The last couple NFL seasons, guys like John Madden practically humped their own legs over Roethlisberger's reputed toughness. In point of fact, he was the only quarterback in the league who's passing percentage actually went up when he was hit by the opposing defense. His famous durability was again on display after his accident. Despite the fact that he could't talk and his face was broken into 127 seperate pieces, Roethlisberger "was resisting the effort to make him stay down." He may be an idiot. But he's a tough idiot.
Blogger Greg said...
Apparently, he also didn't have a license to drive a motorcycle. At least that's what ESPN said yesterday.

Blogger laura the tooth said...
hey--your thoughts on game 3 and 4?