October 16, 2008, - 9:47 am

“Priorities”: More Evidence That Football Ain’t Brain Surgery (Or Rocket Science)

By Debbie Schlussel
When I think of amputees, I think of brave soldiers who lost their limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan or innocent victims of cancer and freak accidents.
But now, college football gives us an example of a man who has a far more “courageous” reason to lose his limbs–a Class A example of a future American rocket scientist/brain surgeon: Trevor Wikre.
Priorities, Shmiorities:

Trevor Wikre had a choice: Lose his pinkie finger or lose his football season.
“I said, ‘Cut it off,’ ” Wikre says. He took no time to ponder. “I knew right away,” he says. “It wasn’t a hard choice.”
Wikre, 21, is a guard for Mesa State College, a Division II school in Grand Junction, Colo. He had told teammates a couple of weeks earlier how much he loved them as brothers.
“I said, ‘I’d take a bullet for you,’ ” he says. “Well, this was my chance to put words into action. This was my bullet.”


Trevor Wikre: Genius Who Amputated Pinky to Avoid Sitting Out Season

The Mesa Mavericks will play their first game on national cable TV Thursday night (8 ET, CBS College Sports) vs. Western State (Colo.). Mesa is 5-2, 5-0 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
The trauma came Sept. 30 when Wikre’s right little finger shattered at practice. He pulled off a glove, saw bone jutting out and asked trainers to tape it up. They declined and got him to the hospital, where doctors advised him that he needed season-ending surgery.
“I’m a senior,” Wikre (pronounced WICK-er-EE) says. “If they put pins in there, my career was finished. I told them to just take it off. They said I was being dramatic. I said, yeah, well, losing my season is dramatic, too.”
Doctors tried to dissuade him, he says, but they were at last persuaded to take the finger at the second knuckle, leaving a stump.
“Even with the operation I was going to have trouble with it later in life,” he says. “I think that’s why they let me” make the decision to amputate.
Wikre missed one game. He played last week with a rubber cast in a 26-3 win against Colorado State-Pueblo.
Did he find any difference in how he played? “Just one less finger to hold with,” he says, laughing softly.
How about differences in life?
“I can’t hit the P on the keyboard very well,” he says. “I have to train my ring finger to get over there. It takes time.”
Wikre got change at the grocery store the other day and felt the coins slipping through his fingers. The pinky is the plug that closes a clenched palm. . . .
Wikre, 6-3, 280 pounds, is majoring in K-12 education and adaptive physical education. He wants to be a phys ed teacher for special needs children.
Traci Young, his fiance, is a bank teller who graduated from Mesa last spring.
“I thought it was pretty crazy, but if you know Trevor you understand,” she says. “Sometimes he’ll stick it in my face as a joke and I’ll squeal. It’s gross to look at but, you know, I’m getting used to it.”
Mesa coach Joe Ramunno lost his left pinky in a shop class accident in 1979, his senior year in high school.
“We’re a matched set,” Ramunno says of the bizarre coincidence. “I’m a good source for him on how it is to live with.”
Unlike Wikre, Ramunno did not choose to have his pinky amputated. “The doctors made that decision for me,” he says. And he would have advised Wikre to save his finger, but it was gone before the coach could give advice.
“He’s pretty darn committed to this team,” Ramunno says. “I know where his heart is at. He’s a special young man.” . . .
The symbol for a team that finishes No. 1 is an index finger held high. “I don’t need my pinky for that,” Wikre says.

With good sense like this, there’s no word on whether Mr. Wikre is the product of his mother and grandfather, but I wouldn’t bet against it. I also wouldn’t bet that this idiot would make the same sacrifice for his country . . . but for his Division II college football team, that’s the ticket.
Giving up your finger to avoid sitting out a season of college football. I think we’ve just found this year’s Darwin Awards Winner.
**** UPDATE, 10/17/08: Reader Logan agrees and speaks from personal experience:

I just got through reading your column on the football player who amputated his finger so he could play his senior year of football, and just had to give a quick opinion. Now please forgive me if there are a few typos in this e-mail or lack of captilization, for the reason is because this past sunday I accidently cut my pinky deeply with a potato slicer. Since the accident my pinky has had a couple of bandaids on it, including 5 butterfly bandaids to close the gap some so that it doesn’t bleed and can heal properly in the days to come. Since the accident, I’ve been discovering more and more how valuable this finger truly can be. day to day activities such as typing, driving, lifting weights, twisting the bottle cap off a pop bottle, etc are much more challenging than they should be for me, and only makes me long for the day when I can use all 5 of my fingers on my left hand again.
So to the football player I would say this, while I’m sure your teammates and coach appreciate you giving up this sacrifice so you can play one year of football, you’ll be spending the remainder of your days wondering if it really was worth it. and hey, maybe he might, but for division II college football? I doubt it, but I have to admit I’ve never been an athlete, so who knows.
Thanks for reading! Love the columns as always, even if I disagree occasionally. Its just nice to see a columnist go after radical islam more often than anyone else.

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9 Responses

I think Trevor shows a lot more courage, tenacity and devotion then given credit for. He is someone who does not let little things stand in the way of acomplishing his goals. It would be much worse if he had used his broken finger as an excuse to give up and whine about how he was wronged in life. Instead he chose to make a difficult decision to continue his profession and not let his teammates down. I think this is the sort of ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ and ‘don’t let anything hold you down’ attitude that many young Americans are missing. The prevailing attitude in America is to teach the youth to give up at life’s smallest difficulty and blame other for your failures. Trevor is not this way.

PrincessKaren on October 16, 2008 at 10:30 am

ìÖ..majoring in K-12 education and adaptive physical educationî
Andto think that this dufus is going to teach our children. (sigh)

Rocky on October 16, 2008 at 11:38 am

Who the hell are we to decide his priorities. He loves football and a year of doing what you love is worth part of a little finger.

poetcomic1 on October 16, 2008 at 12:27 pm

I’m utterly amazed how easily people abuse and mutilate their bodies, drugs, alchohol, tramp stamps, piercings, and now, amputations.
As Mr. Spock said, “facinating.”

Rick on October 16, 2008 at 1:36 pm

I understand his thinking entirely. It’s his last season. His last chance to play. He won’t regret his decision. Neither would I.

dm60462 on October 16, 2008 at 4:18 pm

Trevor Wikre (OL)
As a Junior (2007): LetterwinnerÖ Offensive LineÖTeam rushed for 1,733 yardsÖAveraged 144.4 rushing yards per gameÖHad 19 rushing touchdownsÖHad 2,007 passing yardsÖHad a 4th down conversion of 42%…All-RMAC First teamÖRMAC All-Academic Second TeamÖNational Football Foundation All-Colorado First team.
As a Sophomore (2006): LetterwinnerÖSecond Team All-Conference DefenseÖAll-Colorado Honorable Mention DefenseÖRMAC All-Academic TeamÖRecorded 17 tackles on the seasonÖHad 2.5 sacks for a total loss of 26 yardsÖ Forced one fumble vs. Western New Mexico.
As a Freshman (2005): LetterwinnerÖRMAC Defensive Freshman Player of the YearÖSecond Team All-ConferenceÖAll-Colorado Honorable Mention TeamÖPlayed in 10 gamesÖRecorded 42 tackles (10 solo, 32 assisted)ÖHad one sack for three yards
Berthoud High School: Two sport athlete (football and wrestling)ÖHonorable Mention All-Conference as a sophomoreÖUp and Coming Lineman Award as voted by the players sophomore yearÖFirst team All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-State as juniorÖTeam Captain senior yearÖFirst team All-Conference senior yearÖAll-State First team-Denver PostÖAll-State second team as voted by the Rocky Mountain NewsÖAwarded Jeff Schiner AwardÖPlayed in All-State GameÖThree time Athletic AwardÖSelected Up and Coming WrestlerÖTeam CaptainÖHonorable Mention All-ConferenceÖMr. Escape AwardÖRegional ChampionÖMr. Hustler AwardÖFour-time Athletic award winner…United States Marine Corps Distinguished Athlete AwardÖIron Works Record Holder (Bench: 440 lbs, Power Clean: 337 lbs)
Personal:Goal is to be the best and get better every year.

dm60462 on October 16, 2008 at 4:27 pm

ehh, since when did sports become the end all to be all in life?

mindy1 on October 16, 2008 at 9:19 pm

I think it’s great he’s going to be teaching children. Any time one of them offers an excuse why they can’t do something, he’ll just show him where his pinky used to be and tell them nothing should keep them from their goal.

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