Remember that clip from the preseason when NFL sideline reporter Pam Oliver got hit in the face by an errantly thrown football? Remember how it was funny and we all laughed? Well, it turns out the aftermath of that blooper was actually quite serious. Oliver told Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News she suffered a concussion.
The details are actually quite scary. Oliver spent several days in a dark room and still suffers headaches a couple weeks later:
"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.”
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 NFL concussion story is one that isn't going away and now one of the top sideline reporters for the sport has gotten what sounds like a serious concussion off of just one blow to the head. It's a fluke occurrence yes, but it definitely puts a new light on the story. The Oliver video was seen by thousands who didn't seriously think anything of it, the same as we watch NFL players bash heads time and time again without thinking of it. Just because the NFL settled a lawsuit with former players doesn't mean the conflict has been resolved. It's going to continue to be front and center for the league this season, and even show up in places you would never expect.