The Loop

Lions center Frank Ragnow fractured his throat in the first quarter on Sunday, played the rest of the game anyway

December 16, 2020


The big uglies get no respect. We know it. They know it. Everybody knows it. In the greater football hierarchy, they sit just a notch or two above special teams, somewhere just above the blocking tight end and just below the novelty fullback. Sure, every now and then a left tackle ascends to divisional notoriety, but in the modern NFL where the slot wide receiver is a Tik Tok star and coach dates a lingerie model, they toil in unjust obscurity.

But while Orlando Pace may not be walking through that door, there is one hog molly you should commit to memory: Detroit Lions center Frank Ragnow, who suffered a FRACTURED THROAT in the first quarter against the Packers on Sunday and ended up playing the entire game anyway. (Also before you ask, yes, apparently you can fracture your throat.)

If you think that’s worthy of warrior status, just wait until you see this list of potential laryngeal fracture symptoms according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

+ Difficulty speaking or making sounds

+ Change in voice (hoarseness)

+ Respiratory distress

+ Complaints of neck pain or swelling when swallowing or coughing

+ Bruising on the neck

+ Coughing blood

Just some casual blood coughing, nothing to worry about. But in all seriousness, laryngeal trauma is extremely rare, even in a professional sports context, due the flexibility of the human larynx. To injure it, let alone fracture it, you have to sustain significant blunt force, and doctors advise that you seek immediate medical attnetion in the event of such an injury due to the potential for a blocked airway. Instead, Ragnow played another 45 minutes of professional football. That takes a rare combination of grit and stupidity.

As Rapoport points out, Ragnow, who has played most snaps at center in the NFL this season, could miss this week’s matchup with the Titans, but given what we saw last weekend, we wouldn’t surprised in the slightest if he was out there on Sunday, neckbrace and all.