Adam Vinatieri Returns Home To Talk About Football And Medicine
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South Dakota native and National Football League kicker Adam Vinatieri returned home this weekend to speak at the Regional Health Sports Medicine Symposium in Rapid City.
Indianapolis Colts placekicker Adam Vinatieri has built a reputation as one of the best clutch kickers in NFL history. To many South Dakotans, Vinatieri is known as a local boy who made the big leagues. He has been on four Super Bowl winning teams. Three of them were with the New England Patriots and one with the Indianapolis Colts.
Vinatieri says he enjoys making trips back home to South Dakota. He says it’s fun to help inspire and inform young athletes.
“Well obviously I want them to understand that you can go anywhere you want to go from here. We’ve had a decent amount of different sports athletes that have made it to the ultimate levels,” says Vinatieri. “You know, we’ve got basketball players, and baseball players, and football players. For people to see us come back, and to hang out and to hear our stories; they can understand and realize that ultimately if they work hard enough, they can get there too.”
At 43 years old, Vinatieri is the oldest active player in the league. He says medicine has advanced over his two-decade career. Vinatieri says in the past trainers would throw a bag of ice on an injury and call it good.
“Things have changed a lot since then and I think for the better obviously. Athletes are staying healthier; they’re getting back on the field sooner,” explains Vinatieri. “There’s a lot more education and a lot more knowledge, which is going on with concussions and stuff now. I think ultimately it’s a very positive thing that we’re doing.”
In March of 2016, Vinatieri signed a two-year contract extension with the Colts. It’s still unclear as to when he’ll retire.