Sideline Reporter Pam Oliver Speaks Out About Concussion

Concussion story gets real for Fox’s NFL sideline reporter Pam Oliver

On Sunday, Aug. 18 at the Meadowlands during pregame warmups, a pass thrown by Colts backup QB Chandler Harnish hit Oliver flush on the side of the face.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Saturday, August 31, 2013, 5:15 PM.
Pam Oliver got hit with an errant pass during warmups at the Giants vs. Colts game yesterday.
FOX Sports via Deadspin

Pam Oliver gets hit with an errant pass during warmups at the Giants vs. Colts game.

No one could blame Pam Oliver for not wanting to talk about the most painful moment — literally — of her career as Fox’s NFL sideline reporter. It happened on Sunday, Aug. 18, at the Meadowlands during pregame warmups when a pass thrown by Colts backup QB Chandler Harnish hit her flush on the side of the face.

In the immediate aftermath she refused to read about it, talk about it or watch the video. “Now I want to get it out there. It was a painful, shocking moment,” Oliver said in an exclusive interview over the telephone. “I didn’t really know what happened.”

In the days following this flash of pain, neither would anyone else who watched the Internet video. Not the people who thought it was funny. Nor the ones who felt bad for her.

Until now, they did not know she suffered a concussion.

Adrenaline got Oliver through the game telecast (“You don’t want to be wimpy, you just have to push through it.”), but in the car riding back to the hotel, when she began to relax, the slight headache turned into one of the pounding variety. She tried reconstructing what happened leading up to the moment.

Oliver had just finished doing an interview with referee Ed Hochuli for a piece she was doing on NFL refs for Showtime’s “60 Minutes Sports,” which airs Wednesday night, and returned to the sidelines. “That’s all I remember,” she said. “I asked the people around me, ‘What happened?’ They told me I just got hit in the head with a football.”

After waking up that Monday her head hurt so much she had to hold it. “The sensitivity to light started and some nausea too,” she said, “my whole body was sore.” Oliver went to the doctor. The CT Scan came up clean, but she was diagnosed with a concussion. Oliver spent the next five days in a dark room inside her home.

“I slept for hours on end. The minute you wake up you’re reminded. Your head is pounding,” she said. “I really could not take light — the light from the TV, the accent lighting. The sun was completely my enemy. My blinds were drawn. It was miserable.”

RELATED: SEE IT: SIDELINE REPORTER TAKES FOOTBALL TO FACE

When Oliver wasn’t sleeping she wondered how long she would be living in the dark. “I worried about my memory, but after five days things began clearing up,” she said. “I felt clear-headed and stronger, but the headaches still come and go.”

The coincidence does not escape her. She covers a league in which concussions are a major hazard — a big story too — and she gets one. Oliver has a sideline view of the violence every Sunday, but until now it was impossible to feel its after effects.

“Players don’t want to be reminded about their concussions. They don’t want to be known as the guy who went down with one. They downplay it,” she said. “Then it happens to me and I start wondering how these guys go back to being hit, taking all that punishment, a week or two later.”

Pam Oliver now wonders how she will feel on her return to the sidelines Sept. 8 when the Packers play the 49ers in San Francisco.
Jim Mahoney/AP

Pam Oliver now wonders how she will feel on her return to the sidelines Sept. 8 when the Packers play the 49ers in San Francisco.

Oliver now wonders how she will feel on her return to the sidelines Sept. 8 when the Packers play the 49ers in San Francisco. She vowed never to become “sideline road kill.” She came close once when Marion Barber ran into a kicker’s net and it hit her.

“I’m now officially road kill,” she said. “But when I’m back on the sidelines, I’ll do what I always do: Stay a bit behind the line of scrimmage. And keep my head on a swivel.”

Even during pregame warmups.

Read more…

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NFL and players reach $765 million settlement over head injuries

The NFL has agreed to settle on a lawsuit filed by many of its retired players. Over 4,500 retired players took part in the suit filed which was based on the lack of education and protection they were given by the league when they received concussions or sub-concussive blows while playing. These players now suffer from many cognitive issues that are debilitating to their lives after football. “READ FULL ARTICLE”

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