Esks' Stamps sees big picture
By ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency
|Leading Edmonton Eskimo Fred Stamps before speaking to the media at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton Alta., on Wednesday, August 10, 2011. (AMBER BRACKEN/QMI Agency)
You think hockey players are tough because they go out there with fresh stitches and broken teeth? Try playing an entire football game with internal bleeding and the constant pain of just being kicked in the groin.
Fred Stamps did. So it’s probably no wonder he needs four to six weeks to recover from his Dan Kepley impression last Friday in Winnipeg.
“I knew it wasn’t like a regular shot,” said the Eskimos receiver, who had emergency abdominal surgery early Saturday morning after an accidental, but clearly devastating, kick to the groin on the first play of the game. “When you take a shot in the groin you feel it for a second and then it’s OK, you bounce back. This pain didn’t go away. I knew something was wrong.
“The pain wouldn’t go away, but I just kept playing through it. Going to halftime I felt it even more.
“After the game I went to the doctors and the trainers and they knew something was wrong. So I went straight to the hospital. There was a lot of bleeding in my stomach.”
He could have shut it down at any point, but knowing that the road trip roster was a little thin, he put his helmet back on for the second half. Came back, ran routes, made catches, took hits and finished the game.
“We only travel with a certain amount of receivers, we really didn’t have too many backups,” said Stamps, who’s up and about now and met with reporters at Commonwealth Stadium Wednesday afternoon. “I knew I had to finish. I wasn’t even worrying about the pain during the game. I was just trying to do whatever it took to help my team win.”
Stamps won’t be receiving footballs for a while, but that’s a small price to pay for not having to receive last rites. You don’t need a degree in TV medicine to know that internal bleeding, left unchecked, is a good way to land front row seats at the next Amy Winehouse concert.
But he was never worried. Not with the Eskimos training staff keeping watch.
“The trainers are always on you. You see them up and down the sidelines all game, they’re checking on you 24-7. These are the best doctors in the league. If you want to keep playing you have to hide it from them.”
Stamps was having a great season, spearheading an Eskimos revival, and hates to see it derailed now, but he knows enough about football and football injuries to appreciate the big picture — he’s going to be OK and he’s going to be back.
Not everybody gets to say that after a serious accident.
“It’s always tough to go down with an injury but things happen,” he said. “I’m not really worried about the stats, I just want to win. I was looking at the pictures of all the Grey Cup champions (in the Bryan Hall Media Centre at Commonwealth) and I want to be in one of those pictures one day.”
He’s moving rather gingerly right now, but is confident he’ll be picking up the pace very soon.
“I feel good. Obviously not 100%, but a lot better. I’m still in a little discomfort; I have to sleep a certain way and walk a certain way, but I’m fine. I’m getting better and better every day.
“The good thing about this is that it’s not something you have to re-hab; it will heal on its own. Once the stitches heal that’s when I’ll be able to move things.”