October 18, 2019
Kush Patel | MediaWise Teen Fact Checker

MediaWise Rating: LEGIT

When Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck announced his retirement last month, the Internet went absolutely bananas. Some fans booed Luck as he left the field for the last time, while many others, including his former teammates and coaches, defended his decision to hang up his cleats after six years in the NFL.

On Aug. 24, a tweet from user @zkeefer with more than 14,000 retweets claimed that Luck suffered from at least six major injuries during those six seasons, including a torn abdomen and a lacerated kidney. Luck has definitely taken his knocks, but is this really true? Here’s how we looked at the claim.

Who’s behind the information?

First, we start by opening up tabs and reading laterally to find out more about Zak Keefer, the user behind the tweet. Plugging his name into Google, we find he’s a former Colts reporter for the Indianapolis Star — a trustworthy source — and currently writes for The Athletic. He’s also listed as an adjunct professor at the Indiana University Media School.

Legit so far, but what is The Athletic? We’ll continue to open tabs to find that it’s a digital-only sports outlet, that although relatively new, appears to be trustworthy. Wikipedia is always a good start when investigating a source. In fact, it’s been hiring award-winning journalists away from other outlets for a few years.

Do a keyword search

The source seems legit, but we still needed to dig into what other outlets are saying. A keyword search in Google for “list of andrew luck’s injuries” brings up a CBS Sports article that was able to confirm Keefer’s tweet with a list of their stories about each one. For another source, we found an article from IndyStar that mentions an “unhealed lacerated kidney” and “sustained torn cartilage on two of his ribs.”

And NBC Sports reported that Luck “suffered a partial tear of an abdominal muscle.” An article from The Washington Post states that over the years, Luck has “suffered a concussion” while also mentioning his other injuries. And a report from the NFL and the Colts mentions that Luck did not want to go through the rehab pain that he went through while rehabbing his torn labrum when his calf injury seemed to worsen.

Our rating

Overall, this claim is LEGIT. The source behind the original tweet already seemed reliable, as Keefer covered the Colts for two news outlets and teaches journalism at a university. Also based on our research, each of the injuries Keefer mentioned is accurate.

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Alex Mahadevan is director of MediaWise at the Poynter Institute. He has taught digital media literacy to thousands of middle and high schoolers, and has…
Alex Mahadevan

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