Derek Wolfe won a Super Bowl in 2016, but it wasn’t without its risks.
The former Denver Bronco had one of the biggest scares a footballer can have on the grid.
During the 2013 preseason, Wolfe was struck on the top of the head by a fullback after a cut, and he was put into an ambulance and taken to a hospital.
That blow made Wolfe’s body numb «from the nose down,» but Wolfe said he was back on the field in two weeks.
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«I was paralyzed for three hours and then I played two weeks later.» Wolfe told Joe Rogan on his podcast. «It was miserable. Every time I got touched, my arms would go numb. And I’m a defensive lineman, so I get hit in the head on every play…»
Wolfe added that his team’s medics downplayed the severity of the injury, saying «it was just a stinger» and likening it to how lights take a while to come on but immediately go off.
The doctors at the hospital wanted him to stay, but the team’s medical staff tried to convince them that Wolfe was ready to go just hours after the hit.
That’s when he realized that «they don’t care about us.»
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The injury also had a side effect: Wolfe had a brainstem bruise, resulting in his brain not receiving fresh blood. Twelve weeks after the initial injury, he had a seizure and was in a coma for 36 hours.
In January, Wolfe killed a cougar that had been «wreaking havoc in a rural neighborhood» with a bow and arrow. He hiked more than 9,600 feet and «nearly died on that mountain.»
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Wolfe was Denver’s second-round pick (36th overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft and spent eight seasons with the Broncos. He played the 2020 season with the Baltimore Ravens before ending his career.
Recorded 299 tackles and 33 sacks in his nine-year career.