Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe says he’s experienced numbness is his face, arms and legs over the last two weeks due to a neck injury that knocked him out of Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.
In an interview with 104.3 The Fan on Wednesday, Wolfe said he’s visited multiple doctors as he tries to determine the causes of his current issues.
“There’s not like one real answer to give right now because we need to run some more tests to really figure out what’s causing the numbness,” Wolfe said. “A stinger is a stinger, but when your face is going numb and then your quad is going numb, that’s when you have to make sure. Whenever the MRIs and everything, that’s all clear, that’s when you have to go check the nerves and find out what’s going on with the nerves and then you can reverse it.”
Wolfe said he was initially injured two weeks ago against the Cincinnati Bengals when he got hit on the first play of the game.
“I got hit like right in the back of the head on the first play and my arm went numb on the first play against the Bengals and I was like ‘whatever, I’m just going to keep going.'” Wolfe said. “Ended up just going and trying to block it out but I paid for it all week last week and I had no feeling in my right hand most of the week. I had kind of a bruise on my hand so I just kept trying to make excuses because I don’t ever want to think ‘oh, something’s going on with my neck.’ But it’s not like a disc issue or a spinal cord issue, a brain stem issue. It’s nothing like life-threatening but it’s something that this isn’t a normal stinger that’s happening.
“The first play of this game (against Oakland) I got put in like a head lock and I was fine. I ripped off the block and he had his arm around my neck and I was trying to get him off me and I was fine. It was the next play, I go to jump and bat a ball and he punches me right in the facemask. And when he hit me in the facemask, it wasn’t even really that hard of a hit, it happens a lot. If you’re a D-lineman you know in the trenches you’re going to get hit in the face. It was nothing and boom my right arm… there was no pain either. It’s not painful. It was completely numb and you can’t use it.”
Wolfe has had neck injuries in the past. After being injured in the preseason in a game against the Seattle Seahawks in 2013, Wolfe continued to play throughout the season despite dealing with ongoing issues stemming from the initial injury. With the team traveling to the airport to head to Kansas City in December, he began sweating profusely and passed out. He was taken to the hospital and his season came to an end.
“The last time that this was happening, I just kept going and it put me in the ICU and it almost killed me,” Wolfe said. “So for me, I’m not going to let it go on for 12 weeks, for the rest of the season. I’m not going to let it go on for five weeks and then crash at the end of the season and end up in the ICU again. Why don’t I jump on it now and make sure that the rest of my career I’m going to be OK.
“Sometimes these things happen when you’re getting hit in the head a lot it’s just something that comes with the game. You have to be ready for that, for when it comes, you just got to nip it in the bud. Unfortunately, I’ve had a few more than I’d like to deal with. I’m ready to get this thing fixed up and worry about my future.”