Jim Kelly Comments on Concussion Suffered in Super Bowl XXVI, Safety of Football

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2016

Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly grimaces during the Bills 37-24 in Super Bowl XXVI against the Washington Redskins in Minneapolis on Jan. 27, 1992. Kelly is expected to announce his retirement Friday Jan. 31, 1997 at a news conference called by the Buffalo Bills.  Sources have said since last week that Kelly, unable to reach agreement with the Bills on a new contract deal, will retire after 11 years with Buffalo.(AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)
RUSTY KENNEDY/Associated Press

Add former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly to the list of people concerned with concussions and the overall safety of football players.

Kelly appeared on the Howard Simon Show (via WGR550.com) on Monday and said, “I had no clue where I was,” when discussing his Super Bowl appearance against Washington in 1992. Kelly commented further, per WGR550.com:

Maybe I should have got hit upside the head earlier in the game... I probably would have played better cause I think I threw two touchdowns when I had a concussion...

I just pray that they continue to work on the right form of getting tackling, to make the helmets continue to get better, because everybody out there, from commissioner Roger Goodell to everybody out there, they're trying to make it as safe as possible.

WGR550.com provided the entire interview:

The Bills lost that Super Bowl to Washington, 37-24. It was the second of four consecutive Super Bowl losses by the Bills during the 1990s.     

Kelly’s remarks come after Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas recently said he suffers from mood swings because of the concussions he experienced while in the NFL, per Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Thomas is the all-time rushing leader for the Bills and played alongside Kelly in the Buffalo backfield during the prime of his career.

The comments from Kelly and Thomas come during a time when concussions and brain injuries have dominated much of the off-field discussions regarding the NFL.

A recent study said there was a possible link between football and traumatic brain injury (known as TBI), per Alice Park of Time. Park cited Dr. Frank Conidi, who is the director of the Florida Center for Headache and Sports Neurology, and said more than 40 percent of the 40 former players evaluated during the study showed evidence of TBI.

The topic also made headlines in March when NFL Senior Vice President for Health and Safety Jeff Miller said there is a link between football and brain injuries, per Steve Fainaru of ESPN.com. That was particularly noteworthy because it was the first time a senior league official ever publicly acknowledged there was a connection between the sport and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

The NFL also drew ire when a report from Alan Schwarz, Walt Bogdanich and Jacqueline Williams of the New York Times revealed the league did not include a number of the concussions suffered by players from 1996 to 2001 in its research data.

Although Kelly did note Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league are attempting to make things safer, the link between football and brain injuries will likely continue to hover over the NFL, especially when notable former players discuss it.


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