Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said he consulted with Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman about the back issues that forced Aikman to retire in 2000.
At 34 years old, Romo is the same age as Aikman was when he retired. Romo has undergone back surgery in each of the past two seasons _ the second one last December to repair a herniated disc. Romo said he talked with Aikman about his rehab and things he had to do to play following back surgery.
"Yeah, I talked to him," Romo said. "You talk to a lot of people. Troy is one of them. He went through it. Like I said, you have to change your routine. Instead of just going in and bench pressing and doing these other things that you do to get yourself ready, you need to incorporate this routine as part of it. You strengthen all of those areas around it."
What Romo found out is the routine he is doing now now is pretty much the same thing Aikman did following his first back surgery in 1993.
"It’s pretty much the same," Romo said. "Somewhere along the way someone found out if you strengthen everything around there, your back doesn’t get used as much. So that’s what you do. If anything, it will probably help you because those are areas you need to strengthen anyway. I think what you find is all of those guys who are doing a lot of that stuff are younger now. They’re finding out the core is what keeps you healthy. More trainers and more people are incorporating that into their systems than they were 15-20 years ago."
Aikman had back surgery at the age of 26 and was able to play eight more years before retiring. But he says it was the back that forced him out of the game.
"There are a lot of people that believe the concussions led to my retirement, but nothing could be further from the truth," Aikman said on local radio last year. "I then, nor now, have ever experienced anything that had to deal with the concussions. I had surgery back when I was 26. I was young when I had my first back surgery following our first Super Bowl victory and didn't miss any time for it.
"Then, going into my last year, I was having some back issues. I took epidural shots and the first time I took them was before the Jacksonville game that season in 2000, and I remember on the day of the game, waking up, and I'd never felt better for a game in my life. My back felt pain free for the first time in years. And in the first quarter, we completely turned (defensive end) Tony Brackens loose and he slammed me on the turf right flat on my back, and immediately, my back went into spasms. I was done for the day. So that good feeling lasted about half of a quarter. And I took shots the following week hoping that I could recapture the pain-free symptoms, and it never took again. So, that is why I retired."