By Ross Kelly
There aren’t many people who can relate to the situation that Jason Pierre-Paul is currently going through. The Giants’ DE recently had his right index finger amputated after a Fourth of July fireworks accident. But one man who can understand the battle in front of Pierre-Paul is Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott who had the tip of his pinky amputated after it was crushed in between two helmets in a game. Lott also had his amputation done during the NFL offseason and returned without missing any games due to the operation. Speaking on the Rich Eisen Show, Lott reiterated time and time again that pain would be the biggest struggle:
“He’s going to be in a lot of pain. Anytime you hurt around the foot or the hand, the pain is much different. For him, the pain of going through the amputation, the pain of having it numb or having it become un-numb and the fact that when you go through all of that, there is the pain. And then the pain of learning how to play with it, not to play with it, the things you can do, the pains of struggling with it. All those pains to me are the things that make it challenging.”
Apart from the physical elements, Lott also said JPP will have to cope with the emotions of losing a finger:
“The other thing for him, he’ll be able to play with it and deal with it, but the moment of not seeing it, the moment of looking at your hand and looking down and realizing and you have that phantom where you see your finger and don’t see it. There are a lot of things emotionally that he’ll have to deal with and he’ll have to learn and understand it’s not there and will play tricks on his mind.”
I think the emotional effects of JPP’s situation are even greater than the physical effects (of course that’s easy for me to say as I type this with 10 fingers). But football is just a part of his life and he will only, for the most part, have to deal with the physical pain for as long as he plays. But he still has to spend the rest of his life with only nine fingers and that’s a huge emotional burden for any person.
Besides Lott, Rashad Johnson of the Cardinals is another player who has lost part of a finger. He actually lost his midseason in 2013 and returned after missing two games. It’s clear that you can still perform your job without all 10 digits but as Lott said, the physical element is just part of the battle.