Fox Sports’ Pam Oliver Says Chronic Migraines Have Affected Her Ability to Work NFL Games: ‘They Really Do Knock Me Out of Action’

Football fans have spent nearly 30 years watching Pam Oliver patrol the sidelines for Fox Sports. They may not have realized how much work goes into her even making it through an entire game.

Oliver, who turned 60 earlier this year, has struggled with chronic migraines for years. Although she’s gone public about her health problems in the past, she recently revealed how badly the migraines have impacted her ability to work for Fox.

Fox Sports sideline reporter Pam Oliver opened up on her migraines

Fox Sports sideline reporter Pam Oliver in 2021.
Fox Sports sideline reporter Pam Oliver recently had plenty to say about her lingering battle with chronic migraines | David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As a member of Fox Sports’ NFL coverage since 1995, Oliver has done everything from calling five Super Bowls to freezing on the sidelines at Lambeau Field. The only thing that’s been able to stop her in that time is her migraines.

On the Nov. 11 episode of the Sports Media with Richard Deitsch podcast, Oliver walked listeners through her migraine problems. She estimated that she has three migraines a month during football season, down from five or six in years past, and pain medication doesn’t help her during games.

“They’re very debilitating for me. They’ve been a problem for a very, very long time. It’s caused me to miss a few games over the span of my career because I just couldn’t take the noise and the light and the sickness that comes with that. The nausea and the vomiting.”

Pam Oliver

Oliver recalled traveling to a game in the late-2010s at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta when a migraine struck. She ordered her driver to pull over and, after thinking things over, went home.

“There’s no way that I felt like I was gonna get through that game, be productive, help the crew, contribute in any way,” Oliver said, adding, “I felt so guilty about that for the longest time, but they really do knock me out of action.”

Oliver said migraines caused her to slur words during the 2020 NFL Playoffs

Perhaps the biggest story of the Green Bay Packers’ NFC Divisional Round victory over the Los Angeles Rams in January 2021 had nothing to do with Aaron Rodgers or Sean McVay. Oliver, working the game as a sideline reporter that night, went viral for slurring her words during the game.

Many on social media sent Oliver their best, believing she had a medical emergency either before going on camera or during the interview. When she spoke with Deitsch, Oliver admitted how extensive the migraines — which often cause slurring as a side effect — can get.

Because traditional pain medication doesn’t work for her, Oliver said she tried a cocktail of anti-inflammatory nausea medicine and a steroid. If her migraines get too severe, she goes to either a production truck or somewhere quiet to withstand the pain.

“I’ve fought through it more than I’ve failed getting through it during a football game,” Oliver said of her migraines.

Oliver is still going strong as she nears 30 seasons with Fox Sports

At 60 years old, Oliver is among the oldest on-air NFL staffers at Fox. She’s been with the network for nearly 30 years and has shown no urge to retire anytime soon.

Thankfully for Oliver, she had not had any on-air issues through the 2021 season’s first two months. She works most weeks alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen, who retired after a long NFL career earlier this year, on the network’s No. 2 broadcast team.

Burkhardt and Olsen are already possible candidates to eventually replace Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on the top team. Oliver worked with the latter two before Erin Andrews controversially replaced her in 2014.

For now, Oliver is having fun where she can and doing her best at working through the migraines. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope she’s able to keep powering through, provide insightful analysis, and avoid getting hit by an errant football again. That would be ideal.

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