Accepting the Costs of a Life in Football

Star-News—WILMINGTON, NC—May 12, 2008

After his playing career with the Cincinnati Bengals ended, Reggie Williams worked in the World League of American Football and later the NFL, setting up a Youth Education Town in each Super Bowl city. Then he ran the sports complex at Disney World until his knees began to erode, as joints do among aging athletes.

He received implants for his knees in 2005. The left one worked, but the right one led to a lingering bone infection, so Williams resigned from Disney acknowledging, "You're either in or you're out."

After loading his iPod with soul and jazz to get himself through, in April he drove from Orlando, Fla., to Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

The cavalry arrived in the form of nurses and his orthopedist, Dr. Stephen J. O'Brien, who had once played quarterback for Harvard against Williams's Dartmouth squad. Now these Ivy Leaguers were meeting again with, as the saying goes, the game on the line.

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