Now he’s starring in a PSA from the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, and he has a strong warning for others.
"Leave the fireworks to the professionals," the 27-year-old told "GMA" correspondent Mara Schiavocampo, as she went behind the scenes for the filming of the PSA that was released today.
In the spot, Pierre-Paul makes reference to the incident that left him hospitalized for weeks.
“In a split second it blew off my whole hand,” he said. “All I could do was think about my son and was I going to make it," he said. "Now I’m truly blessed to be alive. Now when I look at fireworks I think about safety.”
Schiavocampo also asked Pierre-Paul about how he had been faring since the accident.
“My recovery is good,” he said, adding: “You’ve just got to overcome.”
The football player told Schiavocampo that he believed he could get away from the firework in time.
He’s not alone. On YouTube there are numerous videos showing amateurs setting off fireworks, sometimes with unexpected or harmful results.
In the months around the July 4th holiday, about 230 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries, according to figures from the CPSC. Out of all fireworks injuries in 2013, hands and fingers were affected most often.
In addition to professional-grade fireworks, the CPSC is also warning about the danger of sparklers, especially around children.
“Sparklers are incredibly dangerous. They burn as hot as a blow torch,” said Elliot Kaye, the CPSC’s chairman.
The CPSC offered the following tips for using consumer-grade fireworks:
1. Only use ones designed for consumers.
2. Keep a bucket of water nearby.
3. Never try to re-light fireworks that don’t appear to work the first time.