Over the course of Matthew Stafford’s 14-year career with the Lions and Rams, the veteran QB has had to overcome a separated shoulder, broken tailbone, lingering elbow issues, and the litany of other injuries he’s fallen victim to over that span.
Stafford has also dealt with his fair share of concussions and other neurological issues. That includes the worrying trauma that recently brought his current season to a premature end after the Rams decided to shut the QB down for the remainder of the season after he experienced numbness in both of his legs stemming from a hit during a game against the Saints that led to what has been officially diagnosed as a spinal cord contusion.
The timeline for Stafford’s recovery is still very uncertain. A orthopedic surgeon who spent 17 years lending his services to various NFL teams had to say about the prognosis, there’s a chance the season-ending injury could also be a career-ending one.
Dr. David J. Chao (who you may know better as “Pro Football Doc”) recently broke down the fairly grim reality Stafford is currently facing.
“You cannot mess around with the spinal cord. Any small risk of permanent damage needs to be avoided. This is why he’s being shut down for the season.
What the medical staff has to do is find out why it happened—was there instability at one segment, was there a disc, was there a canal narrowing—what is it and how do you correct it and prevent it, which might mean surgery.
It seems Matthew Stafford and his family will have a choice this offseason: either do something to correct the risk of further spinal cord contusion and potentially permanent damage…or decide to hang it up after 14 seasons and a Super Bowl ring.”
Stafford’s wife Kelly has been vocal about how upsetting it is watching her husband take a beating on a regular basis. Stafford is under contract through at least 2025 (the Rams have a potential out in 2026).
The risk may no longer be worth it for Stafford, especially since he already won his first career Super Bowl with the Rams last season.
Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford. Photo courtsey of Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports