A football player in Colorado ordered doctors to amputate a seriously injured finger so he can finish his senior year on the college team rather than sit out the season while it healed, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.
"You do whatever you have to do to play again," Trevor Wikre, an offensive lineman for Mesa State College, told newspaper reporter Allen Gemaehlich.
It happened when Wikre dislocated the pinkie on his right hand during practice Tuesday.
"My finger got caught in a jersey when I hit the ground. I felt something weird, but I didn't know what it was so I played the next play. I thought I had some tape loose. I pulled my glove off and saw the bone popped out. I asked [trainer] Josh [Fullmer] to put it back in and tape it up," Wikre told the Daily Sentinel.
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Instead, the trainer dispatched him to the hospital. Fullmer said dislocated fingers are not usual, especially among line position players. But he told the newspaper, "where they actually break through the skin and it's dislocated so much it would poke out the skin, it's very rare."
He estimated a recovery period of four months or more for surgery to reconstruct the ligaments and pin the bone.
Wikre also was told he might, after the injury healed, develop arthritis or need to have the bone fused. He didn't hesitate, the report said.
According to the Daily Sentinel, he told the doctor:
"This is my senior year. If I want to go on, I've got to play great the rest of the way. These are my last few games, we've got to make this work. He's like, 'We can't.' I said, 'We can. Cut it off.' I love football. When you face the fact you've played your last game, it hurts. If you love the game and you're told that, you do whatever you have to do to play again."
Wikre told the Daily Sentinel, "This team means the world to me. I love everybody on the team like a brother. I told them all before the Western New Mexico game that I would have no problem taking a bullet for any of these guys. I love 'em that much. This is my bullet."
His prognosis now is that he'll miss this weekend's game at Colorado Mines while his injury heals and his hand is fitted for a cast. Then he'll likely be cleared to continue the season.
"This shows how much [football] means to him," said Mesa State coach Joe Rammuno.
Fullmer said such radical treatments are "a bit aggressive." But he said under the circumstances, the doctor "felt it was warranted."