NFL player Jason Pierre Paul has shared some graphic photos of his past hand injury due to a fireworks mishap, warning the public "this can be you."
"It’s been [three years] since my accident and I can truly say I’m very blessed and fortunate to be where I am in life," Pierre-Paul wrote in a post in Instagram. "Looking at these pictures seems unreal and crazy. How your life can change in the blink of an eye."
"One of the greatest American traditions in celebrating 4th of July is with fireworks. Unfortunately, tomorrow someone will be injured playing with fireworks," he added. "We are celebrating the birthday of our great nation."
"I’m glad to still be alive to show you the outcome of what happened to me. Please don’t feel sorry for me, trust me your boy fine even with missing fingers lol," Pierre-Paul's message concluded. "Be safe out there otherwise, this can be you."
Pierre-Paul — a defensive end — was playing with the New York Giants at the time of his July 4th fireworks-related injury in 2015.
The injury was so severe that doctors were forced to amputate his index finger on his right hand. According to NBC Sports, Pierre-Paul lost millions of dollars because of the injury, having no choice but to miss half the football season.
He remained with the NY Giants until 2018 when he was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the upcoming 2018-2019 season.
Pierre-Paul is just one of countless people who have had their lives significantly altered after suffering a fireworks-related injury.
Local ABC affiliate KSAT in San Antonio, Texas spoke with Dr. Mark Muir — the trauma medical director at University Hospital — about what types of injuries emergency rooms usually see, with Dr. Muir painting a grim picture.
"We see kids every year, mostly with small burns but, occasionally, they can set their clothes catch on fire and cause larger burns that can cause injuries to the eyes," Dr.Muir said.
He went on to explain that many people celebrating Independence Day think that explosive fireworks are the only dangerous ones to handle, but stated that sparklers can cause injury as well.
"The tip of a sparkler can get very hot and cause deep burns almost immediately," Dr. Muir added. "But even if one of those sparks hit your clothes, it can catch your clothes on fire and cause serious injuries or burns."
Dr. Muir finally said that, while fireworks are fun, it is sometimes best to leave them to professionals.