Jonathon Hefney’s injury photo another stark reminder of the risks players face

Former Winnipeg Blue Bomber and Montreal Alouette defensive back Jonathon Hefney posted a photo of the aftermath of his most recent surgery, providing yet another stark reminder of what CFL players go through – often without support from the teams or the league.

In October of 2015, Hefney was carted off the field after a collision with the Ottawa Redblacks Patrick Lavoie. Hefney suffered three fractured vertebrae and nerve damage that left him with limited use of his arm. According to Hefney, he suffered an injury to the brachial plexus, which is a network of nerves that sends signals to your shoulder, arm and hand. Minor brachial plexus injuries are common in football and are known as stingers or burners while more severe cases can lead to paralysis and loss of function which is what happened to Hefney.

The Montreal Alouettes, for whom Hefney played when he was hurt, covered the cost of Hefney’s first surgery via insurance but their obligations ended a year after the injury. Hefney used a GoFundMe campaign to pay for a second procedure and then had this one, which took place on June 22.

The photo caught the attention of a few players, including veteran Canadian defensive back Matt Black.

The CFL players’ association has said it wants to make extended medical benefits for injured players an issue in the next CBA negotiations and Hefney continues to be the prime example as to why the union needs to make sure it remains a priority.

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