Fans of the Green Bay Packers were silent as we all watched tight end Jermichael Finley being strapped to and rolled off the Lambeau Field turf on a stretcher. Many of us said a silent prayer. Many of us wondered if that was the last time we would ever see number 88 in a Packers uniform.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way – and there’s always hope.
“Chilling” is how King describes Finley’s words.
Honest and insightful is how I would describe the piece offered up by Finley. He describes the moment before and the hours following his injury in a first-person remembrance that makes one wonder why these men subject themselves to such punishment.
I looked my teammate Andrew Quarless directly in the eye and whispered, ‘Help me, Q. I can’t move; I can’t breathe.’ The scariest moment was seeing the fear in Q’s eyes. I knew something was wrong, but his reaction verified it. That really shook me up.
But it was what Finley described as he was being wheeled off the field that struck me:
I actually had feeling in my legs, but I couldn’t feel much else. On the field, the doctors were going through regular procedures, testing me on sense and touch, and asking me a multitude of questions. But because I was a little panicked, I couldn’t breathe, which made it very difficult to answer. I remember one of the doctors telling me to ‘close my legs,’ and I simply could not. They ended up unscrewing my facemask before lifting me up on the stretcher. When I was exiting the field at Lambeau, I tried to raise my hand to give the fans a thumbs-up, but I got about halfway and couldn’t raise my arm any further. I kept asking the neurosurgeon, ‘Will I walk again?’ His answer was a definitive, ‘Yes, you are moving your legs right now.’ Then I asked, ‘Will I use my arms again? Will I play football again?’ To those questions, I simply got, ‘I cannot answer that yet.’
Finley continues his description of his night in the ICU of the hospital – some of it even humorous. But it’s his firm belief that he will not only get better, but will play football again. That’s where one gets the feeling that Finley has started putting his young life together and that he wants to continue on the path that he has laid before himself.
Admitting that he has put together a team of people who were guiding him toward the future, Finley said that he was really pleased on where he is as a person – that he has matured and understands what it will take to move forward.
All of that is on hold – at least the football part of it – until he has more tests completed.
He’s saying he wants to play football yet this year and nothing is out of the realm of possibilities, but that depends on his future prognosis and whether the team places him on injured reserve.
In the meantime, do yourself a favor and head on over to the Monday Morning Quarterback and take a read for yourself.
You won’t be disappointed.