JPP INSPIRES 11-YEAR OLD AFTER ACCIDENT
BY DAN SALOMONE
Being a role model is part of the job description for every NFL player.
Jason Pierre-Paul has always known that, but now he sees the power of it.
In what has been a life-changing year for the two-time Pro Bowl defensive end, Pierre-Paul recently reached out to Seamus Bohannon, an 11-year-old boy from Pennsylvania who lost two fingers as a result of a bicycle accident.
Pierre-Paul knows the road ahead of Bohannon after JPP was involved in a fireworks accident on July 4 that severely injured his right hand, including the amputation of his index finger. With the help of social media, the sixth-year NFL veteran heard about Bohannon's story, which ultimately led to a FaceTime conversation between the two.
"My whole family was there, and JPP said that I'm going to go through some rough times with it and the most important part is your family," Bohannon recalled during a "SportsCenter" appearance on ESPN.
"People don't know what other people are going through," Pierre-Paul said today at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center as the Giants returned to practice after their bye week. "I'm just blessed, not saying this was fortunate to happen to me or whatever, but I'm a role model and it happened to me. A lot of kids are like, 'What is he going to do now?' Now, it's just continuing to do what I do. They got discouraged, but he's okay and he's in good spirits now."
Bohannon's accident hit home even harder because Pierre-Paul now sees life through the eyes of a father. His son, Josiah, is 11 months old and has been a major source of strength throughout the rehab process.
"I'm a father myself," Pierre-Paul said. "My son doesn't know any better, he's learning, he's getting ready to talk, he's getting ready to walk, and I see if something was to happen to him, there's only so much I can tell him. He's going to look up to somebody other than me. There's only so much I can tell him. When a role model tells you it's going to be okay, it's going to be okay. So they look up to that, and I'm just blessed I was able to talk to [Bohannon]."
Pierre-Paul is proof that it will be okay.
After missing the first eight weeks, he now has two games under his belt in addition to a bye week to get used to playing with his injured hand.
"Everything is new to me," Pierre-Paul said. "Like you all can see, everything is new to me, still learning every day, daily, the system, and how to use to my hand. The good thing about it is that I can still play football. I have to be consistent with things, but like I said, everything is just new. I'm just learning and as time goes on, I'm just getting better."
Meanwhile, the Giants hoped they turned the corner with the pass rush.
Big Blue is coming off a season-high three sacks against New England after having just nine in the previous nine games.
"We're getting back there," said Pierre-Paul, who had 12.5 sacks last season. "I'm feeling it. We're getting back there as a group. It's not about me. We're getting back there as a whole group, and that's what counts. Sacks are going to come, but when you get back there as a whole group and disturb the quarterback, that's a great thing. That's a great feeling."
Want more Giants LifeStyle? Click here