OXNARD, Calif. -- Damien Wilson is thankful for more than just being able to play football.
“I’m truly blessed I didn’t lose my eye,” Wilson said.
Wilson suffered a right eye injury playing paintball with friends before the start of Dallas Cowboys training camp.
“It’s a delicate thing, man. It’s one of those things that you look back on and it was just foolish,” Wilson said. “Camp was right around the corner and you’re out here doing something foolish to jeopardize what you’ve been working your whole life for, jeopardize all your dreams, all your passions. It’s just not smart.”
Wilson opened camp on the non-football injury list and was activated on Monday, taking part in his first practice. He is wearing a visor now for added protection.
Wilson said he was hit by a “stray” paintball, calling it a freak accident. He said he has 20/25 vision in his right eye and 20/20 in his left.
“I had a lot of blood clouding my cornea and that was really blocking my vision,” Wilson said, “so I had to wait for that blood to clear up and then I was on these dilating drops, and I had to wait for my eye to get back to normal and now it is.”
Wilson wasted little time getting back into action. He took his normal special-teams snaps and worked at linebacker with the second-team defense, making tackles on his first two snaps of camp. Wilson was active for 16 games last year but saw limited defensive action.
He said his first practice was “pretty brutal at first. Coach, he makes no exceptions for nobody. I had to run like I’d been out there the whole time. I pretty much got into it. It was hard at first, but then I found a good little groove.”
As for his paintball-playing days?
“I may hang ‘em up,” Wilson said. “I may hang it up.”