Jermichael Finley: Head trauma ‘felt like 100 bees stinging me’

By Rachel Wold

Former Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley had his NFL career come to an abrupt ending in 2013. The 30-year-old eventually retired after taking a nasty hit to the crown of his helmet in the Packers final 2013 game.

In an interview with NPR, Finley opened up about about the spinal cord concussion he suffered as a result of the hit.

“What I do remember – before I even caught the ball, I faced the guy up. I took the slant route, caught the ball, lowered my head. And when I lowered my head, he jammed my head, and it kind of, like, jammed my spinal cord,” Finley said, via¬†Kelly McEvers of npr.org. “So instantaneously I, like, froze up. When you get a spinal cord concussion, your head – it just, like, flops back and forth. And it felt like a hundred bees was on me, stinging me. So it was a crazy, crazy experience.”

That description Finley gives is just brutal and bone-chilling.

In addition to the spinal chord injury, Finley sustained five concussions during his career with the Packers. It was enough obviously for Finley to take his long-term health into consideration and walk away from football.

Finley also gave his thoughts on whether the NFL is doing enough when it comes to player injuries.

“I don’t. My thing is – here, and not to throw the NFL under the bus, but I don’t think they’re doing their wholeheartedly best at helping players realize that after the game, it’s going to be a struggle from all of the damage and the scars that’s on their brain. I don’t think they educate guys around that good enough. If I can go back and do this thing all over, I would have baseline tests every single year, twice a year. You know what I mean? I would check my brain a lot more than I did.”

Overall, Finley described being concussed to be like “going blind.” The one-time Super Bowl champion tight end was never cleared to play after the 2013 injury. When he retired he said he received “10 million bucks tax-free.” This was due to a clause written in his contract, according to McEvers.

Finley was selected in the third round of the 2008 draft. He played in a total of 70 games, tallying 223 receptions for 2,785 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Four years removed from playing the sport, Finley coaches youth football. He admits he still watches football on television but “cringes” when the players get hit.