Former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi opened up about the all-terrain vehicle accident he had that led to the amputation of most of his left hand.
In a video for The Player’s Tribune, posted by Sports Illustrated, Mr. Massaquoi said he and his friends went out to ride their ATVs on their usual trails one day in April of last year when he made a sharp turn and lost control of the ATV.
“… before I knew it, my ATV loses control. The next thing I feel is something just feels like an explosion just went off in my hand. I’m in shock, so I don’t feel it. But I’m very aware of what’s going on, just because there’s blood everywhere.
“What I’m seeing and what my friends are seeing are completely different. They’re seeing what actually happened. I’m seeing what I think happened. I’m thinking that I just broke my hand. My friend, on the other hand, thinks my hand just went through a meat grinder.”
Mr. Massaquoi was airlifted to a hospital after the accident. Surgeons warned him that his hand would likely undergo amputation, but their plan was to piece it back together to see how it healed.
“Over those next days and weeks we’d see, ‘OK, this finger’s not going to make it, we have to take it off. This finger’s not going to make it, we have to take it off,’” Mr. Massaquoi said. “And then you’re left with what is now a thumb.”
A native of North Carolina who starred at Georgia, Mr. Massaquoi was drafted by the Browns in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He caught 118 passes and seven touchdowns for Cleveland from 2009 to 2012 but has not played since 2013, when the Jets and Jaguars cut him in training camp.
Mr. Massaquoi said that the hand amputation made him confront deep and hard-hitting emotions.
“I went with denial, I went through fear of what was going to come,” Mr. Massaquoi says in the video. “This just gives you a perspective of how precious life is, how fast things can change.
“In losing a hand, which was critical to the job that I had to do, it was critical to getting a scholarship, critical to getting drafted. To not have that; it’s a part of you that helped me become who I am.”