"Help me, Q. I can't move. I can't breathe." Those were the first words spoken by Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley in the moments following his neck injury suffered against the Cleveland Browns on October 20 at Lambeau Field.
In a compelling first hand account written for Sports Illustrated writer Peter King's new website Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB.com), Finley tells the story of his injury, his treatment and his comeback hopes.
Finley was injured after making a catch on a short slant route and while going down, lowered his head to avoid a hit from oncoming Browns safety Tashaun Gipson. Gipson avoided a helmet to helmet collision but his shoulder caught Finley in the back of the neck and he didn't get up. After asking for help from fellow tight end Andrew Quarless who was first on the scene, Jermichael said he knew something was wrong and the scariest moment was seeing the fear in Quarless' eyes. Finley said, "Is this God punishing me? Is this karma?" By the time medical help arrived, including a stretcher to whisk him to the hospital, Jermichael said he he feeling in his legs, but not much else. He said, "Clearly there was a problem and I was terrified."
Finley said the treatment at the hospital was excellent, he learned he had suffered about a two centimeter bruise to his spinal cord but the injury would probably not require surgery. He plans to seek out other medical evaluations before considering his next step.
Finley said he has purhcased a 10 million dollar disability insurance policy just in case but he also wrote, "Of course I plan to play football again. This is what I love to do. I love the game, I love Sundays. Based of the feedback I've received from doctors at this point, the question is not if I'll play again, but when.
Jermichael spent the first 36 hours in the intensive care unit, was moved to a private room and released three days later. He continues to recuperate at home and there's no timetable on when he might be able to resume his career.
Photo Credit: Joe Bielawa on Flickr - Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License