It was an amusing moment, one captured on GIFs all across the internet.
But it was no longer a laughing matter when Pam Oliver realized that she had suffered a concussion when she was conked on the head by a pass as she stood on the sideline at a preseason game Aug. 18.
“Now I want to get it out there. It was a painful, shocking moment,” the Fox Sports sideline reporter told Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News. “I didn’t really know what happened.”
A pass by Indianapolis Colts backup quarterback Chandler Harnish hit her on the side of the head just after she had finished interviewing referee Ed Hochuli for a Showtime “60 Minutes Sports” feature and she continued to work. She told Raissman that “That’s all I remember. I asked the people around me, ‘What happened?’ They told me I just got hit in the head with a football.”
The next day, when Oliver woke up, it got scary. “The sensitivity to light started and some nausea, too,” she said, “my whole body was sore.”
She was diagnosed with a concussion and spent the rest of the work week at home in an unlighted room.
“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.”
After five days, she said she was “clear-headed,” but admitted that “the headaches still come and go.” Oliver is also aware now of the irony of saying she was fine as she covers a league that is dealing with players who shake off the symptoms of concussions and suffer long-term 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.”