This interview with former Packer Jermichael Finley was a pretty interesting read. There were a couple of things that jumped out at me, aside from the injury that ended his career. The first was a description of what it’s like to get your “bell rung” in an NFL game.
It feels like you’re going blind. You can’t really hear anything. I had got my bell rung week three of the same year that I got injured. I was stumbling off the field, and the only way I can find the sideline that my team was on is that we had the bright-yellow pants on. So I couldn’t hear. You can’t talk. And I think the fans on TV – you can tell when a guy get his bell rung ’cause you get that oh, that ah. You’re off balance. It’s a train wreck every time you collide into an opponent.
He later admitted this happened about once per game. That sounds an awful lot like a concussion. In fact, I’ve had a minor concussion myself, and it was not anywhere near that bad.
Later in the interview he talks about how the NFL talks to rookies about injuries:
FINLEY: Most definitely. And when you come in the NFL, you come into that orientation as a rookie or whatnot. They got it for you highlighted. There’s 99 percent chance you’re going to get injured in this game.
MCEVERS: They say that.
FINLEY: Yeah. They’ll let you know that. The matter’s not that you’re going to get injured. It’s when you’re going to get injured. So everyone plays this game. You’re going to get some type of injury that’s going to, in my opinion, haunt you for the rest of your life.
I don’t think those of us who have never played at the major college or professional level can understand the appeal of playing football. I read this and can’t help but wonder why anyone would play football. This is Rollerball type stuff?
Now Finley was smart enough to take out an insurance policy that paid him out a cool $10 million when his career was ended by injury. Seems like that’s something more players should be thinking about, but I suspect most are not thinking that far ahead, or as he assumes, they just don’t want to spend the money on the policy, because they’re making good money now, and there’s no reason to think that will end tomorrow.
But, as Finley’s injury clearly shows, it absolutely can end tomorrow. I hope more players take these kinds of precautions seriously in the future.