Mesa State athlete Wikre sacrifices pinkie for football
Whatever the Mesa State College football team needed, Trevor Wikre was more than willing to do.
The two-time All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference defensive lineman even switched to the offensive line when coach Joe Ramunno asked him to make the move prior to his junior year. Wikre quickly earned a starting spot and made all-conference on offense.
So when Wikre faced surgery to reconstruct his right pinkie finger and end his career during the 2008 season, that simply wasn’t an option for the 6-foot-3, 280-pound senior.
What Wikre did to continue his career brought national attention and was voted the top sports story of 2008 by The Daily Sentinel newsroom staff.
Wikre dislocated his right pinkie in a Sept. 30 practice so badly, pieces of the bone protruded the skin.
After one play, Wikre realized something was wrong, took off his glove, shrugged his shoulders and asked the athletic trainer to tape it up so he could continue practice.
The trainer, Josh Fullmer, sent him to the hospital instead.
There, Wikre was told he needed reconstructive surgery to repair the badly damaged finger, requiring more than four months of rehabilitation.
All Wikre heard was no more football.
He told the doctor, “ ‘This is my senior year. If I want to go on (to professional football), I’ve got to play great the rest of the way. These are my last few games. We’ve got to make this work.’ He’s like, ‘We can’t.’ I said, ‘We can. Cut it off.’ I love football. When you face the fact you’ve played your last game, it hurts. If you love the game and you’re told that, you do whatever you have to do to play again.”
The same night he injured the pinkie, Wikre had it amputated.
Surgery ignited a firestorm of media requests for the next several weeks from talk shows to national magazines and television news programs. Now, there are thousands of sites with stories and blogs about Wikre.
“That was quite a load for Trevor, but he was a pillar in how he handled it,” said Ramunno, who had his left pinkie amputated during football season when he was in high school. “He received a lot of attention he didn’t want, but he handled it extremely well.”
Wikre was lambasted by many and respected by others for his decision, but he never had a second thought about cutting the pinkie off.
“I would never change a thing,” he said. “This decision was the best thing for me.”
Although Wikre wasn’t released to play that weekend, he inspired his teammates to commit 100 percent to the good of the team.
“He exemplified everything you work towards,” Ramunno said. “What he did showed a commitment to his teammates.
“It is something you have to be around to understand the whole thing. There is a bond that is special in athletics. You develop a chemistry and camaraderie you’ve have the rest of your life.”
Wikre was back on the field the next week and played the rest of the season.
“His decision was something that made sense after all the facts came out,” Ramunno said.
“He was a huge inspiration to the team.”
Wikre earned All-RMAC first team and All-RMAC Academic first team this season.
His football career is now over, but Wikre won’t be far.
The physical education major is studying for a career in teaching and coaching. His experience in his final season will only help.