It’s been a while since Mohamed Massaquoi played in the NFL. The second-round pick out of Georgia in 2009 spent four seasons with the Cleveland Browns – as a wide receiver.
His position on the field makes the events of nearly a year ago even more devastating: in a video posted Monday on The Players’ Tribune, Massaquoi revealed that last April he lost nearly all of his left hand after an ATV accident.
Last April, his left hand was amputated.
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) February 12, 2018
As you can see in the video, Massaquoi still has the use of his thumb on that hand, but his four fingers have been replaced by a prosthetic; the fingers can move independently.
Massaquoi said he was riding with friends, and as they were heading back toward their cars on the trails, Massaquoi took a turn too sharply and lost control.
“The next thing I feel is something that just feels like an explosion went off in my hand,” he said.
There was blood everywhere, and his friends started to react – they could see how badly damaged Massaquoi’s hand was, and he could see the panic in their faces. But Massaquoi initially believed he’d broken his hand.
Emergency room doctors didn’t think they’d be able to save Massaquoi’s hand, but put it back together as best they could anyway, and waited to see how the digits reacted. In the weeks that followed, it became clear that his fingers needed to be amputated.
Massaquoi said because he still has use of his thumb, he can still feel pressure and has a sense of touch.
“In losing a hand, which was critical to the job 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, there’s an adjustment there,” Massaquoi said. “Saying, ‘Ok, this part of me is no longer, but there’s a lot of other parts that are still there.’
“You find and you discover certain things about yourself that will push you past staying in your comfort zone. With this, there’s no way that I can stay in my comfort zone, because I see it every day, I feel it every day. It’s a part of me that will not come back.”
Massaquoi said he’s learned to value relationships more as part of his recovery and process since the accident.
Now 31-years-old, Massaquoi played 54 games (43 starts) with Cleveland, with 118 catches for 1,745 yards and seven touchdowns.