Injuries are as much a part of the game of professional football as touchdowns and tackles. It’s an inevitability that is almost impossible to avoid at some point in a player’s career. Just about every player is faced with the bumps and bruises that are inherent with the physical nature of the sport. Others face minor strains and sprains that require a bit more medical attention. Still others are faced with major tears and fractures that can be season ending or even worse, career threatening. But how many have actually “given one up for the team” . . . a finger that is?
The Football Educator
By Alysen Hargrove
Rashad Johnson – #thefinger
Johnson doesn’t remember how it happened but said on Monday, “If I had to take a guess, I would say maybe it dug into the turf there and snapped back and I broke it that way. My glove was torn or ripped, which makes me think it didn’t get caught in a facemask or a cleat stepped on it.”
It’s now the same length as his index finger. They had to shave his finger bone and the skin was stitched together to cover it. Infection is still possible, but apparently Johnson is planning to play Sunday against Tampa Bay.
Johnson said, “This type of stuff happens.”
Not the first finger given in the line of duty
Well that’s true. Remember Ronnie Lott? In 1986, Lott was a Safety for the 49ers. After tackling a running back, he crushed his finger. He voluntarily had the end of his pinky finger amputated in what coaches call “the football decision.”
Basically, his finger was so damaged the doctors gave him the choice to operate and repair it (which would put him out for 8 weeks), or amputate it. Obviously he did the latter. When asked about it after the bandages were removed 3 weeks later, he had a new perspective on life.
“We are losing the compassionate side of sports,” he says. “We’re becoming gladiators. If I ever become a coach, I hope I never lose sight of the fact that players are people. They feel, they have emotions. I could have all of Eddie DeBartolo’s corporations and it isn’t going to buy me a new finger.”
Lott said it in 1986 – “we’re becoming gladiators.” Think of how things could go as an NFL player another 30 years from now?
Just google NFL Finger and see what you find.