GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers wide receiver Malachi Dupre returned to practice Tuesday for the first time since leaving Lambeau Field in an ambulance on Aug. 10.
Dupre, a seventh-round pick from Louisiana State, absorbed a vicious hit from safety Tre Sullivan of the Philadelphia Eagles during the Packers’ first exhibition game. He was taken off the field on a stretcher and spent the night in a local hospital.
It took 11 days for Dupre to clear the concussion protocol, and Tuesday he offered a first-person account of the traumatic experience:
“I was out. The craziest thing is I don’t even remember giving a thumbs up to the crowd. Zero recollection of that. But more than anything I’m just thankful to be back and thankful it wasn’t as bad as it looked, you know? I hated (that) it had to look that bad because it really looked a lot worse, especially for me to be back (this) fast. But I just was completely knocked out.
“I was out unconscious for a while. Later that night I was fine. I just remember it being really scary. Went to the hospital that night, didn’t really wake up and remember anything until I got in the ambulance. I woke up in the ambulance and I didn’t know why I was there. That was really scary. I was like, ‘What am I doing here?’ They were like, ‘You got hit really, really hard, but everything is going to be fine. You’re talking to us, you’re up and alert now. Things are looking well.’
“Then I got to the hospital, ran all the tests they needed to and spent the night. I had a few teammates come visit me: Aaron (Rodgers), Randall (Cobb) and his wife, (Montay) Crockett and his girlfriend, Jordy (Nelson) and Coach (Mike) McCarthy. It was crazy. The first person that came was Aaron. To me that just — it meant a lot to me for someone like that to come visit me. It just shows that he cares as much as he does. (People) can’t show that until something like that occurs. I hate that something like that had to (happen) to show how much he cares, but it really showed me.
“Ever since the hit and when I woke up I’ve been feeling completely fine. It’s so crazy. You know it’s just been like a week of the protocol and going through everything I needed to do to get cleared to play, but the whole time I felt well and well enough to play. Finally getting out there to play today, it was great being out there with my teammates. Most importantly, great getting out there and helping the team get better. Looking forward to playing again.
“My dad asked me, ‘You think when you get back out there you’re going to be a little timid?’ I was like, ‘No!’ That’s just one of those things that it’s all a part of football. But you really don’t understand it until something like that happens. A lot of guys will finish their career without something like that being an eye opener. But I’m fortunate enough for it to happen to me and me being in the position I’m in as far as being healthy still. Just one of those things that was an eye opener to me and shows what the game can do and how fast it can be taken. But it definitely didn’t make me nervous or scared to play the game I love.
“It definitely was (my first concussion). It was not a fun process to get back. But definitely I feel like the NFL has a great protocol and a great process in place to ensure that everyone is safe with these brain injuries."