Last season during a game against the Dallas Cowboys, then Seattle Seahawks special teams player Ricardo Lockette sustained a serious injury during a punt return play, when Dallas’ Jeff Heath inadvertently blindsided him on a block. The hit left Lockette numb, lying on the turf and, eventually, being carted off—and the result of the hit led to the veteran to retire from the NFL.
For the first time, the former player opened up about what went through his mind as he laid hopelessly on the ground, and it’s terrifying to read.
Per The Players’ Tribune, here’s an excerpt:
I hit the ground, and I heard the sound you never want to hear. When you have a brush with death, people always say you see a light. Well, I didn’t see a light. I heard a noise. You know the noise I’m talking about — like when you were a little kid, bored at a family party, and you ran your finger around the top of your auntie’s wine glass. It’s that weird, far-off ringing sound.
It was terrifying. I couldn’t hear the crowd. I couldn’t hear my teammates. That’s when I knew it was bad.
I was thinking, O.K., get up. Just get up.
But I couldn’t get up. My whole body was numb. I couldn’t move my arms. I couldn’t move my head. I couldn’t talk.
All I could do was move my eyes. I was thinking:
Am I deaf?
Am I paralyzed?
What is going on?
Am I about to die?
Please, somebody come help me.
I said to myself, “Lord just help me. I know that I’m here for a reason. If you help me off this ground, I’ll change lives.”
It was the second time I had ever said that to myself.
Lockette went on to talk about the support he received from his Seahawks teammates following the life-changing incident, specifically, former running back Marshawn Lynch.
A lot of people don’t know the real Marshawn. They don’t understand what kind of a man he is, and how much he does for his people in Oakland. My goal in life is to have 10% of the effect that Marshawn has on people’s lives.
When I was taken to the hospital in Dallas, Marshawn stayed in my room with me the whole first night. This dude had me laughing so hard that he was putting my damn life in danger. I’m laying in bed with a full neck brace, just trying to stay still, and he’s just being Marshawn — talking to the nurses, making jokes, being crazy.
The entire piece is incredible to read, so check it out over at The Players’ Tribune—but be warned, it’ll have you pretty choked up.