You'd be forgiven if you’ve forgotten the name Mohamed Massaquoi by now. Massaquoi last appeared in the NFL as a practice-squad member for brief periods with the Jets and Jaguars in 2013. Before those stints, he spent four seasons as a wide receiver for the Browns, where he hauled in 118 catches for 1,745 yards and seven touchdowns. A star at Georgia, where he played with Matthew Stafford, Massaquoi was a second-round pick in 2009.
Last April, Massaquoi had to endure a brutal ATV accident that led to him having four fingers on his left hand amputated. The 31-year-old told his story to the Players’ Tribune in a piece titled, “What I've Lost And What I've Gained.”
After a brief introduction, the piece transitions to a video of Massaquoi detailing the situation that led to his gruesome injury. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it is stirring.
“Making a turn—I take the turn too sharply,” Massaquoi says, reliving the horrifying moment. “And before I know it, my ATV loses control. The next thing I feel is something just feels like an explosion just went off in my hand. I’m in shock, so I don’t feel it. But I’m very aware of what’s going on, just because there’s blood everywhere.
“What I’m seeing and what my friends are seeing are completely different—they’re seeing what actually happened, I’m seeing what I think happened. I’m thinking that I just broke my hand. My friend, on the other hand, thinks my hand just went through a meat grinder.”
Massaquoi knew it was bad right away. He had to be airlifted to a hospital. Gradually, he realized how much of his hand he was going to lose. Needless to say, his hands were quite precious to him.
“Over those next days and weeks we’d see, ‘OK, this finger’s not going to make it, we have to take it off. This finger’s not going to make it, we have to take it off,'” he said. “And then you’re left with what is now a thumb.”
Massaquoi, however, has a redemptive take on the situation. He says losing his hand has taught him how precious life is. Catch the piece in full here.