To borrow from the headline of the New York Daily News article from this weekend, the NFL’s ongoing concussion story got real for Fox Sports’s Pam Oliver several weeks ago. During a preseason game between the New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts, an unsuspecting Oliver got nailed in the face by an errant pass from Colts QB Chandler Harnish. And when I say she got nailed in the face, I mean she took an incredibly fast moving football right to the jaw—a shot that, admittedly, would’ve put me on the deck and out for the count, for sure.
In case you need a reminder (courtesy For The Win):
Oliver, following the incident, didn’t want to talk about it, and now we know why. According to the Post article, in which she opened up for a phone interview, Oliver said she was pretty much out of commission for the next week.
“Now I want to get it out there. It was a painful, shocking moment,” Oliver said. “I didn’t really know what happened.”
After the hit, Oliver said adrenaline got her through the rest of the telecast without any discomfort, but as soon as she left the stadium and headed for her hotel room things turned south quick.
“The sensitivity to light started and some nausea too,” she said, “my whole body was sore. … I slept for hours on end. The minute you wake up you’re reminded. Your head is pounding. 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.”
She went to a doctor, got a CT scan, and was diagnosed with a concussion. “I worried about my memory, but after five days things began clearing up. I felt clear-headed and stronger, but the headaches still come and go,” she said.
And the coincidence of the event, given how concussions have dominated the headlines in the NFL, didn’t get lost on Oliver. “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.”
As of now, Oliver is on track to return to the sidelines for Fox’s September 8th game featuring the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers. “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.”
As for Harnish, he was cut by the Colts…