Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas opened up about concussions publicly for the first time on Friday. Thomas was the keynote speaker at the District School Board of Niagara’s International Concussion Summit when he gave his first public comments on concussions. The Niagara Falls Review was able to get Thomas' quotes on concussions.
According to Thomas, he's not comfortable talking about concussions as he feels he's not knowledgeable about the topic.
“I don’t discuss it at home," said Thomas. "I don’t really discuss it with my friends. It’s something that I’m really not comfortable talking about because I want to get more facts about it, I want to get more knowledgeable about it.”
Thomas acknowledged that the NFL was a lot different when he played, so he doesn't hold any ill will towards the team doctors. He admits that he has trouble with mood swings.
Thomas stated, "Still to this day, I can’t control my mood swings. On so many days, I have to apologize to my family for them. I thank God that I have a family that understands the things that I’ve been through over my 13-year (professional) career, and even after my 14 or 15 years that I’ve been retired. They all understand that with my mood swings, sometimes I just can’t help it.”
Focusing and keeping his train of thought is also difficult for the Hall of Famer. Perhaps the scariest part of Thomas' speech came when he noted that on a drive he takes often, he became lost a few years back.
“I didn’t know where I was," Thomas said, "and I didn’t know what I was doing. I had to make the most difficult call I’ve ever made. I had to pull over on the highway, call my wife, and explain to her the events that just happened. She said, ‘you need to come back home.’ I knew that there was a problem.”
Thomas noted that he received an MRI and didn't get great news. According to Thomas, the doctor said the former running back's frontal lobe was “similar to someone who has fallen off the top of a house, on to the front of his head, or going through a windshield of a car several times." Since then, things haven't gotten any better for Thomas.
“It hasn’t gotten any better. It’s getting worse.”
Although he wants to learn more about concussions, Thomas is ready to discuss the effects that they've had on him in his life.
Thomas said, “One thing that I realized is that discussing the effects of concussions and the reality of the situation doesn’t make me less of a man, less tough, less loyal to the National Football League, a less love for the game."
The Hall of Famer showed a lot of courage talking about the effects that concussions have had on his life.null