Jermichael Finley suffers second serious head injury in four-game stretch
For the second time in the last month, Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley saw his day on the field end early as result of a serious head injury. FInley was obviously wobbly after he was hit by Cincinnati Bengals safety George Iloka in the first quarter of Green Bay’s 34-30 loss on Sept. 22. Finley tried to get to his feet after the hit, but quickly went back to the ground. He was taken to the locker room and scratched for the rest of the game with what appeared to be a concussion.
In the fourth quarter of Sunday’s Packers game against the Cleveland Browns, Finley took a slant pass from Aaron Rodgers and lowered his head just as safety Tashaun Gipson was moving in to tackle him. Gipson hit Finley on the head with his shoulder, and Finley spent several minutes on the ground. He was immobilized by the Packers’ training staff and stretchered off the field — hopefully as a purely precautionary measure. Finley appeared to wave with his right hand as he was taken from the field. The team is officially calling it a neck injury, adding that Finely reportedly has feeling in all his extremities.
It is not yet known whether Finley suffered another concussion, but it’s safe to say that Finley’s family is very concerned for his health. After the Iloka hit, Finley told the media about a conversation he had with his young son.
“When I came back to reality, when I came to my senses and got my balance and my vision back, I picked up my phone,” he remembered, via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “Of course my wife called like 30-plus times, seriously. And first of all, she put my little man on the phone and he asked me if there was a flight I could catch out during the game. And he said, ‘Daddy I don’t want you to play football anymore.’ So that was a little hard to take, hearing a 5-year-old just knowing the violence and intensity of the game. And seeing his Dad walk off the field like he did is pretty hard for a family to see.”
Finley also talked in detail about just how confusing and frightening a concussion can be.
“When the play was called, I knew it was coming to me. So I got on my horse and I knew I had the linebacker, of course, but didn’t necessarily see the safety all the way. Aaron Rodgers threw the ball, I dove, and after that I felt the hit at my shoulder. Then after all that happened, I was unconscious by then. I watched the film, had a knee to my head, then I had the ground contact. So I guess the ground knocked me out. Then I looked to the sideline and all I saw were jerseys, the yellow pants we wear and I didn’t see any heads or legs. Everybody was decapitated and my body was just on fire.”
The Packers had a bye after the Bengals game, which allowed Finley to return to action against the Detroit Lions in Week 5. He has not missed a game this season, but he’s certainly not a lock to play against the Minnesota Vikings next Sunday, and we certainly hope the Packers will follow all the necessary protocols … and then some.