Attention for amputating finger hasn’t kept Wikre’s focus off playing football
Trevor Wikre never expected this.
The Mesa State College senior offensive guard has been the subject of newspaper articles, radio talk shows and dozens of Internet blogs since deciding to have his right pinkie finger amputated last week so he could continue to play football.
He was interviewed Wednesday evening by a freelance writer for Sports Illustrated, and Inside Edition is planning a trip to Grand Junction next week to visit with Wikre. The Sports Illustrated article is expected to run in the Oct. 20 issue.
“It’s a different experience,” Wikre said. “I’m not used to doing (interviews), but it’s good for the school, I guess. It’s not something I like.
“The people that I care to know about it are the team, my family and me. The team is an extended part of my family. If it would’ve stayed here (within the team), I would’ve been happier. Coach and some others have encouraged me to talk. I’m a worker bee, I do what I’m told.”
Although Wikre doesn’t like all the attention, he doesn’t regret his decision.
“I would never change a thing,” Wikre said. “This decision was the best thing for me.”
Wikre practiced Tuesday for the first time since he caught his hand in a jersey during practice Sept. 30, which severely dislocated the pinkie finger.
His right ring finger and the stub of the right pinkie are now protected in a cast for practice and games.
He hasn’t experienced any pain, he said, but admitted he was a little frustrated when team trainers wouldn’t allow him to do pushups before being fitted with the cast. He was allowed to lift weights.
“I’m not really feeling any pain,” he said. “At times the tendons are tight (across the top of his finger), but they’ll loosen up.”
Wikre missed last Saturday’s victory over Colorado School of Mines, but is cleared to play Saturday night against Colorado State University-Pueblo. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
“I told (Wikre’s story) to the team,” CSU-Pueblo coach John Wristen said. “That is the type of passion it takes to be a good football team. Some people may call it crazy or whatever, but that demonstrates a passion for the game.”
Wikre made the decision to amputate his finger with his family and the doctor at Community Hospital.
“We want the best thing for our student-athletes,” Mesa State coach Joe Ramunno said. “It’s the long term that people don’t get. It was an option to cut if off because it was the pinkie. You’re not going to get that with a ring finger or a thumb.”
Wikre did seek Ramunno’s advice about living without the pinkie because Ramunno lost his left pinkie in his father’s industrial arts class when he was in high school. Wikre, though, was already in the operating room before Ramunno got to the hospital.
“The doctors were going to try to save it, but it was too damaged,” said Ramunno of his own amputated finger. “I remember waking up and the doctor telling me, ‘It looks like you’re going to get to play football.’ I was so happy.”
Ramunno earned a scholarship to the University of Wyoming and played one year with the Chicago Bears before more injuries ended his career.
“Anybody involved in athletics can understand,” Ramunno said. “In the long run, cutting my pinkie off was the best situation.”
Mesa State head athletic trainer Josh Fullmer agreed that the decision to have Wikre’s finger amputated was the best decision in the long run.
“That’s a point I’m trying to make to people,” Fullmer said. “If he kept it, it would’ve had to be fused, and that would not be any fun. If it was fused straight, the finger would catch on everything. If it was fused bent, it would’ve gotten caught in his pocket. It would’ve been a hassle. With the amount of damage done, it was not just a football issue.
“I had a dad write (an e-mail about) a son in a similar situation years ago that had to have surgery to get it amputated 10 years later. The doctor and Trevor did talk about the scenarios down the road. I don’t think the doctor would’ve cut it off if not for that fact. Everybody in my field I’ve talked to thinks it was a good thing he had it amputated.”
If Wikre, who was considered talented enough, but too short, to play Division I football, doesn’t play beyond college, he can at least go out on his terms and have something to share when he becomes a coach.
“It’s cool people can draw passion from it,” Wikre said. “I’m sure I’ll use it later in coaching.”