Sign up FAST! Login

Peyton Manning on his neck surgeries rehab — and how he almost didn’t make it back

Stashed in: Football, Attitude, Change, Awesome, Stories, There is no finish line., Never give up., Grit, Colorado, Manning!

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Peyton Manning's arm really WAS a noodle! He finally discusses the grueling and scary rehab process that led to his triumph this season.

He basically had to build himself back from NOTHING:

Manning’s arm still felt weak. By this time he noticed that the grip strength in his hand also appeared to be affected. “If any other part of your body has some weakness you go, ‘Well I can probably manage,’” Manning says. “But when you’re a quarterback and it’s your right hand, you’re certainly concerned far as being able to do your job.” His doctors discovered that he had re-herniated the disc, and Manning returned to the hospital for a second surgery, this one in virtual secrecy.

While he waited to heal, Manning largely disappeared from public view, unwilling to let anyone see his arm in such feeble condition. “I wasn’t just going to throw with anybody around watching,” he says. “I was guarded and protective.” The NFL was in the midst of a four-month labor lockout, which meant he couldn’t use the Colts’ facilities or trainers, so he looked for a place to rehab unobserved. His old college friend Todd Helton, then a first baseman with the Colorado Rockies, suggested he come out to Denver where he could work out secretly and get treatment from the Rockies’ trainers, who were accustomed to dealing with arms.

The first pass Manning threw post-surgery was to Helton, and they were so concerned with privacy that they went to an underground batting cage beneath the Rockies’ stadium. Helton took up a position about 10 yards away and held out his hands. Manning reared back, and threw.

“The ball nose-dived after about five yards,” Manning says.

It didn’t even make it halfway to Helton before it hit the ground. Helton burst out laughing — he thought Manning was joking.

“C’mon, quit kidding,” he said.

“Man, I wish I was,” Manning said.

Long article but very worth reading. Peyton Manning has a ton of grit.

Seriously great attitude:

“I don’t believe I throw quite the same as before I was injured,” Manning says by phone on his way home from a recent Broncos practice. “A lot of that is injury, a lot of it is being 37 years old, and a lot is playing with a new team. I’ve had a lot of change. It’s hard to know what percentage is what. I’m just trying to be the best player I can be in this new chapter.”

The definition of grit:

The surgeries so reduced him that when he began rehabilitation, he could barely grip the ball. “I had to relearn,” he says. And in the relearning, he learned some things about himself. For one, he says, “That I could persevere.”


Of all the traits Manning was born with, the one that served him best during those months wasn’t his analytical mind or his physical strength, but his painstaking temperament. Manning has always been the most exacting man who has played the position, compulsively meticulous, a turn-over-every-stoner. The quality helped him cope when he finally encountered a problem he couldn’t solve with arm strength.

You May Also Like: