One of the biggest surprises for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday was the deactivation of Ty Montgomery off the gameday roster. Montgomery was expected to play a significant role against the Atlanta Falcons, particularly out of the backfield, and his absence forced the Packers’ coaching staff to shuffle their offensive playmakers a bit. The only news that came out regarding Montgomery’s absence was that he was listed under “illness” on the injury report, and the issue was later reported to be “kidney-related.”
On Monday, Montgomery revealed to the media that his absence was due to finding out that he has the sickle-cell trait, a genetic blood condition that can affect athletes’ performance if not properly identified or treated.
The Centers for Disease Control has this description of the condition:
Some people with SCT have been shown to be more likely than those without SCT to experience heat stroke and muscle breakdown when doing intense exercise, such as competitive sports.
The CDC also mentions high-pressure and low-oxygen conditions as being potentially dangerous for individuals with SCT. This came to the forefront of the NFL’s consciousness in 2007, when Steelers safety Ryan Clark suffered serious complications after a game in Denver. Clark had his spleen and gall bladder removed following the game, and he never played again when his team visited the Broncos.
Montgomery is not the only NFL player to make headlines with SCT this season, either. The Falcons’ Tevin Coleman was the latest player to do so, as he decided to play when Falcons visited the Broncos earlier this year.
Via ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Montgomery said that the condition should not be career-threatening or even season-threatening, and that he expects to play against the Colts next Sunday in Green Bay.
Interestingly, the Packers played in Denver last season in week eight. However, Montgomery did not play, as he had suffered an ankle injury in week six that eventually landed him on injured reserve. As a result of the NFL’s schedule rotation, the Packers are not scheduled to play in Denver again until 2023, meaning that with proper care, Montgomery should have no issues playing with the condition until then.