What a Concussion Really Feels Like for an NFL Player

From seeing double to feeling like you are having an out-of-body-experience, retired NFL player Thomas Jones does not mince words on what a football-related concussion really feels like.

See more video clips with retired NFL player Thomas Jones.

[Thomas Jones] I'm not really sure about too many misconceptions people have about athletes have with concussions— I mean—I just think that until you've had a concussion, you really—you know can't imagine how that feels. It's like an out-of-body experience. That's really what it is—I mean—I've had times where I've been hit immediately, and I've seen stars like in the cartoons—where you'll see stars. I've been hit where I've seen black spots. I've been hit where I see two of you. So I see you're here and you're here, and you have to—I have to try to put you back together. I've had times where I've been hit, and I literally have been in the game, and the coach or the quarterback or somebody was talking to me, and I literally was just— I'm hearing you, but I'm not listening. And I'm running the plays like—and honestly those are some of the best games I've had. Those are some of the best games I've had. It's almost like you have a remote control to yourself. It's the most— It's strange. You know a lot of people say you're in the zone. He's in the zone. You know in football—you know a lot of times I think especially for a running back it's because you've had some sort of hit over the course of the game to where some part of your brain is taking you to a different dimension. I—I can't explain it. You know. I had one game I think against Buffalo, and I had 200 yards, and I was hit early in the game. Maybe on the third carry of the game, I was hit—I ran a toss and I was hit. And I hit my head on the turf, and I ended up with 210 yards in like 20 carries. And—and most of the plays I didn't even remember until I saw the game the next day. I watched the game film, and I didn't even remember that I'd done any of that stuff. You're just in the moment, but the brain is so powerful—it just—you know—I mean. You just—like I said, it's an out-of-body experience. It's an out-of-body experience—you know—for you to have a concussion. And I see guys who were hit and they're out. And I've seen guys—countless guys get knocked out right in front of me—bam. And the first thing that you usually see is the—[facial expression] or [hand motion]— It's almost like their body and soul have [whoosh sound]—when their soul left them. You know. Because it's instant. Boom! And then someone's like okay—the soul comes back in. The body kinda goes back. It's crazy!—It's crazy to see it. I've seen guys get hit. Get a concussion. You look on their face. They're contact's laying on on the side of their cheek. Bleeding from the nose. Bleeding from the ear. I mean—it's tough, man—it's tough. It's serious. A concussion is serious. But we're just trained. We're warriors. We're trained to keep playing and to fight— keep fighting, keep fighting, keep fighting.
Posted on BrainLine August 19, 2013.

Produced by Noel Gunther and Erica Queen, BrainLine.