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Lucky broken finger saved Washington player’s life, career

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Usually, an injury that sidelines a player for an entire year is a lowpoint of his career. That's not the case with Bellevue (Wash.) High senior Devin Murphy, who missed his junior campaign because of a broken pinkie.

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Bellevue defensive back Devin Murphy

Bellevue defensive back Devin Murphy

As reported by the Seattle Times, the broken pinkie doesn't quite tell Murphy's entire story. Rather, when the defensive back broke the little finger on his left hand he was forced to go to the hospital, where a much bigger problem was discovered: On the same play on which he'd broken the finger, he also badly lacerated his kidney, leaving him with significant internal bleeding and, eventually, the loss of a third of his blood supply.

"I got to see how much I really love football, how much I missed it," Murphy told the Times of his year away from the sport. "Usually when someone's injured they come to practices, stand around but, knowing that I wouldn't be able to play that season, whenever I came here, seeing my best friends play something that I love, I couldn't handle it and I'd end up leaving.

"It was almost selfish of me, but I was so jealous that the team got to the state championships without me. You want to be part of the team, but you just can't. You're done."

In the days after his injury, it was all Murphy could do to stay alive and try to regain his strength. Typically athletic, the teen couldn't walk for weeks and was reportedly in pain for months. Doctors allegedly told him it was likely he wouldn't play football again.

[Rewind: Groin injury may have saved hoops player's life]

That motivated Murphy to fight his way back, a battle which was completed at the start of the 2011 season, when he lined up as a starting defensive back, in exactly the position he expected to take a year before. While he missed out on contributing to a state championship in 2010, Murphy is now preparing to start in the 2011 title game on Friday, after Bellevue knocked off Kamiakan (Wash.) High, 21-10, in the Class 3A semifinals.

For that, Murphy can thank what could have been the worst break he'd ever received, but may have turned out to be the best.

"For him to come back from an injury like that, it just shows a lot, because 99 out of 100 high school kids, or anyone for that matter, wouldn't come back to something that almost killed them," Bellevue assistant football coach Danny Razore told the Times. "He's a special kid."

Or, as Murphy's father, Mike Murphy, says more succinctly:

"Thank God you broke your pinkie."

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