(RNN) – Jason Pierre-Paul, an NFL defensive lineman who maimed his hand in a fireworks accident three years ago, posted a picture of the hand to Instagram to warn people about firework safety for the Fourth of July.
The extremely graphic image shows what was left of his hand following the incident.
"It's been 3yrs since my accident and I can truly say I'm very blessed and fortunate to be where I am in life," Pierre-Paul wrote on Instagram. "Looking at these pictures seems unreal and crazy. How your life can change in the blink of an eye."
The accident occurred at a July 4 cookout in Florida in the late evening after he and friends had been shooting off fireworks throughout the day. It was one of the last of an $1,100 haul of fireworks he had purchased for the holiday, Sports Illustrated reported in 2016.
The firework apparently misfired in an explosion of green and white light, SI reported.
"As soon as I saw the green light, I jumped. I knew something dangerous was about to happen," Pierre-Paul told the magazine.
He ultimately had his right index finger amputated. The 29-year-old however has been able to continue playing with the New York Giants, heavily wrapping his right hand in a kind of permanent cast.
He has since used his accident as a cautionary tale.
"One of the greatest American traditions in celebrating 4th of July is with fireworks," Pierre-Paul wrote in his Instagram post. "We are celebrating the birthday of our great nation. I'm glad to still be alive to show you the outcome of what happened to me. Please don't feel sorry for me, trust me your boy fine even with missing fingers lol."
"Be safe out there otherwise, this can be you."
EXTREMELY GRAPHIC IMAGE BELOW OF PIERRE-PAUL'S HAND: