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Do Not Cut My Leg Off | Zach Miller

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12:29   |   Nov 14, 2018

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Do Not Cut My Leg Off | Zach Miller
Do Not Cut My Leg Off | Zach Miller thumb Do Not Cut My Leg Off | Zach Miller thumb Do Not Cut My Leg Off | Zach Miller thumb

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  • - All my life I've been doubted.
  • He can't do this.
  • He can't do that.
  • When I suffered this injury ...
  • do not cut my leg off.
  • I was told I may never run again.
  • Doubt me,
  • you'll be wrong.
  • I grew up in a town of 300 people.
  • Small little village called the Village of Weston.
  • I had a great time being a little country boy from Nebraska.
  • I can't go back to a specific date
  • of when Kristen and I met,
  • probably like seven or eight,
  • and I probably saw her running around on the farm.
  • I thought, Hey, I'll probably marry her one day.
  • - We started dating when we were in high school.
  • He is passionate about football,
  • but he always puts family first.
  • - This is where it used to go down,
  • Bishop Neumann High School, man, football field.
  • I took a long road.
  • I get to high school, and I broke my collar bone twice
  • in my junior year,
  • didn't really get to play.
  • One year of varsity high school football was my senior year.
  • You know, you're a walk-on hometown kid.
  • Coaching changes and a number of things led me to transfer
  • into Nebraska at Omaha,
  • which is one of the best decisions I could have ever made.
  • It gave me an opportunity to be on the football field
  • for three-and-a-half years.
  • - When we started dating, I remember him always telling me,
  • he's like, "I'm gonna play in the NFL,
  • I'm gonna play in the NFL."
  • - I remember sitting outside her house in college,
  • in the car, like, "I'm going to the league."
  • Welcome to Day 2 of the 2009 NFL draft.
  • I ended up getting drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • - Florida here we come.
  • - The most vivid memory is I could hear my dad, screaming
  • at the top of his lungs.
  • That was cool for me.
  • Pre-season, Game 1,
  • fractured my tibial plateau.
  • 2010, I had a minor sprain in my Lisfranc.
  • In 2011, torn labrum.
  • 2012, torn soleus,
  • a partially torn achilles on the same play.
  • 2013 was kind of a up-and-down year.
  • I mean, I hadn't played in two years
  • from when they released me a week before the last game.
  • 2014, I signed my contract with Chicago.
  • Come here first pre-season game, I caught two touchdowns
  • and people are like, Who's this guy?
  • The next week I had 100-something yards
  • against the Rams and two touchdowns,
  • and then I was kind of where
  • I wanted to be my entire career.
  • It just took awhile to get there.
  • Walking into the stadium, something just didn't feel right.
  • I vividly remember everything ...
  • coming in motion across the ball.
  • I remember the defender, shaking him at the line,
  • and I knew it was a touchdown.
  • Where I'm turning and I'm kind of cuffing one hand
  • and trying to get the football,
  • I simultaneously felt my knee pop.
  • I had an athletic trainer come to me and he's like,
  • what's going on?
  • And I was just like, my knee is gone.
  • I wasn't in pain, but I was nervous.
  • I knew that I wasn't dealing with a regular knee injury.
  • - The Bears with a devastating loss
  • beyond the game.
  • Tight end Zach Miller suffered a dislocated knee.
  • - When I spoke to him he had a little panic in his voice.
  • I could tell, like, the urgency,
  • kind of maybe a little bit of chaos going on.
  • - As I got into the ambulance, they were taking my shoe off.
  • They're cutting my socks off to check for a pulse,
  • and I could kind of tell just from the look of it.
  • There was no, "Oh, hey, we got this, that."
  • It was, "You don't have a pulse in your foot,
  • and we have to fix that."
  • - I hear him say to one of the workers,
  • "Doc, am I gonna lose my foot?"
  • That can't really be happening.
  • Like, he really can't lose his leg from an injury.
  • - You know, they're trying to take us to a hospital
  • that's 45-minutes down the road.
  • Sid Dreyer is one our assistant athletic trainers.
  • He told the EMTs there's no way
  • you're taking us to that hospital.
  • So he pulled out his phone
  • and found a level-one trauma center five minutes from us.
  • And I just remember telling Doc,
  • "Do not cut my leg off, please."
  • They hit me with a mask, and I cashed out for a little bit.
  • So I wake up.
  • I just see a white sheet over me and my first thing is like,
  • All right, I gotta look at this.
  • Check to see if it's still there.
  • I pick the sheet up, and I look. And I see these two bars,
  • and I'm like, "What the hell is this?"
  • And I peek over and Kristen was sitting next to me like,
  • "Oh, what's up, babe?"
  • - He looked at myself and his dad, and he's like,
  • "Oh guys," he's like, "You didn't have to come."
  • And I was like, "What are you talking about?"
  • I remember him, he's like, "Today is my agent's birthday.
  • Did you tell him happy birthday?"
  • It's funny because it's not about him.
  • It's about how everyone else is doing.
  • - Being briefed on what had happened was a shocker for me.
  • They took a vein from my right leg to repair that artery.
  • My leg from my quad down was probably almost the same size,
  • so they cut it on both sides to drain the blood.
  • The remaining seven, eight surgeries were to repair the
  • ligaments and close that fasciotemy, but it takes time.
  • I remember the first time I saw a still image of it,
  • it was probably a day or two later.
  • And just the rush of heat and this wave just hit my body.
  • I think I kind of just made a decision like, All right,
  • this is what we're dealing with so buck up.
  • Let's get through it.
  • - I was reading through Bella's journals,
  • and she started talking about what happened.
  • - When my dad got hurt, I was so lonely.
  • And then I found out that he is in the hospital,
  • and my mom went to the hospital too.
  • - That tore me up when I saw that she said she was lonely.
  • That transition from New Orleans to the hospital here,
  • I remember seeing my mom and the kids,
  • because Kristen and my dad flew with me.
  • I remember peeking out the window, and then I could hear
  • Bella and Cash yelling "Daddy."
  • I was happy to finally pack my stuff up.
  • We hopped back in that ambulance and come home.
  • - I almost feel like once we got home was a total different
  • struggle than it was in the hospital
  • because there you have people helping you, but then once you
  • get home, it's trying to get places when you can't.
  • - Sleeping was terrible.
  • There is no good rest, regardless of how much medicine I had.
  • The nerve pain that I had was excruciating.
  • Looking down and seeing bars hanging out of your leg
  • and your leg cut halfway open, like, there was low days.
  • That didn't move for probably five or six months.
  • That's all we got right now.
  • Imagine if you really think you could open and shut a door
  • with your mind.
  • But that damn door don't move.
  • That's kind of how you're trying to move your foot.
  • As hard as you can and it won't budge.
  • It can get somewhat frustrating.
  • I remember sitting on the couch, and I was like, "Oh,
  • Kristen come in here."
  • Like, "Did my foot flicker?"
  • So I'm like holding it up in the air trying to move it.
  • That was huge for me just to see that little bit
  • finally come back.
  • Do you remember where those were at in dad's leg?
  • - Those two.
  • - Yeah.
  • On the outside.
  • Just to get that off and be able to bend my leg again
  • for the first time, that was a victory.
  • Crutching my way in and just seeing everybody
  • for the first time, kind of back where I felt, I mean,
  • that's everyday life for me.
  • That's been my second home for five years.
  • Last home game of the year allowed me to go on the field
  • and get that standing ovation from Soldier Field
  • was probably one of the coolest things
  • that I've been able to experience.
  • When you got the people all over the world pulling for you,
  • praying for you, like sending positive messages like,
  • "Ah, what do I deserve all this for?"
  • This one says:
  • Dear Mr. Miller, welcome back to Chicago.
  • I hope you're feeling better when you're in your home city,
  • and I hope you still play football again.
  • I think I wanna play forever.
  • Just being an athlete, I mean,
  • I'm never gonna wanna give the game up.
  • Do I know it comes to an end? Absolutely.
  • I don't think anybody ever wants to end their career
  • the way I did.
  • My mind right now - get as strong as I can
  • and as back to normal as I can to play football.
  • If I'm physically able to do it,
  • I'd love to do it.
  • Am I cool if I don't?
  • Out of my hands.
  • If I can run around in the backyard and play soccer
  • with the kids, I'll be good, man.
  • There's a number of positive things that I've went through,
  • been through, and still have on a daily basis to look back
  • at this thing and be bitter or not grateful
  • for the things that I have.

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Description

Last season, Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller almost lost his leg in one of the most devastating knee injuries ever to happen on an NFL field.

Today, he's back in the gym and wants back on the field.

"Doubt me. You'll be wrong."