A year after fireworks accident, NFL star Jason Pierre-Paul reminds you to be safe on July 4

We’ve seen it in the days leading up to Independence Day and around any holiday that involves sparklers and fireworks: senseless accidents that have injured innocent bystanders as well as those who are celebrating.

No one knows this better than Jason Pierre-Paul, the NFL superstar who blew off portions of his hand in a fireworks-related accident last year while celebrating the Fourth of July. Pierre-Paul, who has not only recovered but is still an active defensive end for the New York Giants, appeared to have fate on his side following the accident. Others sadly haven’t been so lucky.

The athlete has since become an advocate for fireworks safety, partnering with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to tell his story of a celebration gone wrong.

On Monday, exactly a year after the accident, Pierre-Paul sent out an Instagram post of his hand. Its caption included a moving message from hand therapist Debbie Austin, who helped Pierre-Paul rehabilitate his hand in order to return to the NFL. 

Though the event was clearly life-altering for the athlete, Austin had nothing but kind words regarding his recovery.

Sometimes events change our lives. Sometimes those events change the lives of the ones we come in contact with. Even though I’ve been a therapist of 30 years, you pulled the best out of me during our short time together! Have a safe and Happy Fourth! 😊 – Debbie Austin- #Blessed2BeWhereImAtInLife

A photo posted by Jason Pierre-Paul (@iamjasonpierrepaul) on

Unfortunately, not every NFL star has heeded Pierre-Paul’s tale. NJ.com was quick to call out Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Pacman Jones for his boastful Instagram video showing countless boxes of fireworks. The video mimics Pierre-Paul’s fireworks haul last year, which included a U-Haul van filled with fireworks.

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Taking that risk may feel worth it to Jones if he’s eyeing that lucrative Jose Canseco tweet.

That’s the only logic I can think of as to why a fellow athlete in the same sport would put his hands in harm’s way. Pre-emptive hug for you, Pacman Jones.

April Siese

April Siese

A former Weekend Editor at the Daily Dot, April Siese's reporting covers everything from technology and politics to web culture and humor. Her work has been published by Bustle, Uproxx, Death and Taxes, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Thrillist, Atlas Obscura, and others. Siese joined Quartz in December 2016.