Jermichael Finley Gives First-Hand Account of Disability
On Oct. 20, after a collision with Cleveland Browns safety Tashaun Gipson, Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley was taken off the field on a stretcher and spent the night in the ICU of a Green Bay hospital. He was later diagnosed with a spinal cord contusion that is expected to heal.
Last week, Finley gave a very detailed and harrowing first-person account of his experience for The MMQB. He discussed what those initial moments were like as well as what it’s like to confront the possibility that one play could change your life forever. (MMQB, Jermichael Finley: Fear. Relief. Resolve. October 29, 2013)
“Is this God punishing me? Is this Karma? That was my initial thought when I was down on the field. I felt as if everything that I had ever done wrong came crashing down at me at that one moment,” said Finley in the account. “It all happened very quickly. I remember seeing the defender out of the corner of my eye, and I intentionally lowered my head and shoulders to protect my knees…The scariest moment was seeing the fear in Q’s eyes. I knew something was wrong, but his reaction verified it. That really shook me up.” (Q is teammate Andrew Quarless) *
As Finley goes on to explain his experience and road to recovery, one thing becomes very clear. It was the support and protection he received that helped calm his nerves and come to terms with the “unknown.” His friends, family, teammates, wife, his agency, (The IFA – Institute For Athletes) even his disability insurance policy all helped him get peace of mind and recover swiftly.
Finley credits his agent and financial advisors for getting him into a more secure financial situation than he was two to three years ago and for ensuring that he was protected through a private disability insurance policy.
“As athletes, we often feel invincible, which is why it is so important to have advisors who you can trust and who can also take the emotion out of any situation. I don’t feel the pressure that I see many athletes do because I’ve taken their advice. I currently have a $10 million insurance policy in place. If this injury prevents me from ever playing football again, I will be able to collect on $10 million tax-free. For me, this is the equivalent of making another $16 million or $17 million in pre-tax salary. While money has absolutely nothing to do with my decision to play, I can sleep at night knowing that regardless of what happens, my family is financially secure forever – maybe the biggest odds I’ll ever overcome. Disability insurance is never a fun conversation, and writing those annual checks to protect myself is tough. But now, more than ever, I understand the importance of protecting yourself, protecting your family, and protecting your future earnings,” said Finley.
Disability lawyer to the pros, Frank N. Darras, couldn’t agree more. “I couldn’t have said it better myself. Finley had great advisors that protected his best interests and now more than ever he understands the importance of having a private disability policy in place. Hopefully, more players will follow suit and learn from his example,” said Darras.
Finley is still recovering from his spinal cord contusion, but is expected to make a full recovery. He is “confident” he will back to football one day soon.
Source: MMQB, Jermichael Finley: Fear. Relief. Resolve. October 29, 2013