November 17th, 1991. Fans of professional football were shocked as Detroit Lions guard Mike Utley suffered a serious injury in a game against the Los Angeles Rams, but heartened by the “thumbs up” gesture Utley gave as he was being carted off the field.
Utley was diagnosed with a spinal cord injury and is paralyzed. He now lives in Washington with his wife, and 24 years on from the injury, continues to do work to help other with spinal cord injuries and search for a cure through The Mike Utley Foundation.
In a wide-reaching interview, our own Jim Gray caught up with Utley to talk about the injury, its aftermath and its effect on his life as well as the overwhelming love he still has for the game of football.