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The Carolina Panthers announced on January 24 that Cam Newton had undergone shoulder surgery, not a big surprise given that Newton hadn’t played the final two games of the Panthers’ disappointing 2018 season.
Newton took fans behind the scenes of that procedure on Thursday, with the first video blog posted to his new YouTube channel.
‘What’s wrong with my shoulder?’
The 10-minute video is titled, “What’s wrong with my shoulder?” and opens with Newton, seemingly barely fitting on a hospital gurney, in a blue johnny and counting down from 100 after just getting anesthesia.
He’s laughing at himself, determined to try to count all the way down to 1 without falling to sleep, which of course is the whole point of the anesthesia. He gets down to 71 before he stops counting, groggily turning to camera to give the peace sign before he’s wheeled off.
“This year was rather interesting; a roller coaster, to say the least,” Newton said. “At one point in time, I felt as if we were Super Bowl contenders, and as the season kept progressing and going forward, I knew the status of my arm was still uncertain, but we were still winning games.
“Everything that we wanted to accomplish in the season was right there in front of us, and then – boom. Everything switched.”
‘My shoulder was just nagging all year’
Newton said it wasn’t just the losing that got to him, though at one point the Panthers lost seven straight, free-falling from 6-2 to 6-9. “It was my body, my should in particular was just nagging all year,” he said.
We see him driving into the hospital in the pre-dawn hours of January 24 for the surgery. He says he’s not scared because “I just want this [expletive] to stop. The shoulder achiness. Whatever the [expletive] they got to do, I need to get this [expletive] over with.”
Newton didn’t know what was going on, he just knew there was an issue.
“Like, I couldn’t throw the ball more than 30 yards. No lie,” he says. “I was trying to keep up with it as much as possible, until the wheels fell off. I felt like defenses were exposing me because they knew I couldn’t throw the ball downfield.
“Not being in the position physically to make the throws you know you’re capable of making, that was the most disheartening thing out of the whole year.”
‘The damage was not as extensive as we feared’
In the recovery room, Dr. Pat Connor gives Newton a measure of good news: “The damage, that cartilage damage, was not as extensive as we feared. It was definitely there, we knew that, but it was pretty small, so I think if we can get that motion back and keep it, we’ll be pretty good.”
Newton wraps by saying that he’s bothered by those who say we’ve seen the best of him as a player.
“Seeing the doubt, hearing the whispers of, ‘he don’t got it no more,’ fuels me,” he said. “I feel this is going to make me even more dangerous.”
Throughout the video we see a different side of Newton, including his hyper-competitiveness.
“I take it very offensive when a person says you can’t win them all. Yes you can,” he says. “You can win every single game. If they’re keeping score, I’m trying to win.”
And we also see some of his vulnerability.
“I think the thing that was hurting me the most was in some ways I would … in some ways kind of punish myself to a degree, and it was like, I don’t want to talk to nobody, I don’t want to be around anybody, my significant other, my family, my children, you know, and I didn’t want to be around them,” he says. “I just backed myself into this hole and I was hurting, and as a man, as a gladiator so to speak, this persona that we play, you can’t show no sign of weakness, but I was weak. I felt so vulnerable, I felt so scared, I felt so afraid because I knew I wasn’t myself.”
Newton has reportedly already gotten much of his range of motion back.
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