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Jason Pierre-Paul raising firework safety awareness

He appears in new PSA following his July Fourth fireworks accident last year

About 9,300 serious injuries occur in the United States each year from fireworks. Last July Fourth, New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul found himself part of this statistic. He severely injured his right hand and lost a finger after a professional-grade fireworks went off in his hand.

To help others avoid his mistake, Pierre-Paul is starring in a public service announcement for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

In the announcement, Pierre-Paul said that when the fireworks accident occurred, all he could think about was his son and if he was going to make it.

“I lit up a firework, thought I could throw it away real quick, and in a split-second, it blew off my whole hand,” he said. “Now I’m just truly, truly blessed to be alive. Now when I look at the fireworks, I think about the safety.”

The announcement debuted Thursday on Good Morning America.

Pierre-Paul’s message?

“Keep fireworks away from kids” and to leave “the fireworks to professionals.”

According to ESPN.com, Pierre-Paul hasn’t hidden his damaged hand since he returned to the Giants in the middle of the 2015 season. He has spoken openly about the incident and the challenges the condition of his hand present. Teammates and coaches say he is a changed man, and after re-signing with the Giants on a one-year contract, Pierre-Paul hopes to produce at a higher level than he did in the second half of 2015.

Kelley Evans is a general editor at The Undefeated. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.