Matthew Stafford’s wife Kelly Stafford continues to be an inspiration to fans after overcoming brain surgery in April 2019 to remove a tumor. Kelly discussed the process of having to learn how to walk again during an interview with NBC Sports’ Maria Taylor leading up to the Super Bowl.
“Yeah, I mean, it just, they wiped out my balance,” Kelly explained during the feature released on February 11. “So, relearning, my brain had to just kind of figure out what it was going to rely on. It’s kind of a crazy thing, they wipe out one side and all of the sudden your brain’s being taught just to rely on your left side. So, it was a process. But again, I had him, I had a ton of support. And when you have kids, you’re going to fight even harder to get back sooner.
“So that’s just what we did and I relied on him a bunch. I mean, talk about caregiver. He he had all my medications lined up. He had alarms for when I was taking all these medications doing anything and everything to make sure I was okay.”
Kelly wrote an ESPN longform story in October 2019 detailing her recovery process and journey back to being healthy. She explained her specific diagnosis when they received the MRI results.
“The medical term was an acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma,” Kelly wrote. “There was a tumor sitting on some of my cranial nerves.”
Here is a look at the full NBC Sports interview with Matthew and Kelly discussing their journey.
Kelly Is Approaching the 3-Year Mark of Being Tumor Free
Last April, Kelly took to Instagram to celebrate being two years removed from having brain surgery.
“Two years ago, waking up after a 12 hour surgery, 🧠 tumor free,” Kelly noted during an April 17, 2021 Instagram post. “Today celebrating the clean 2 year scan and all the new adventures my family and I are going to have in this next year!”
The couple are the proud parents of four daughters: Tyler, Sawyer, Chandler and Hunter. Matthew noted that Kelly’s story has become an inspiration for their daughters.
“I think the coolest thing for me as a dad as being able to raise four daughters,” Matthew told NBC Sports. “And like, there’s no better example of how to be tough and how to overcome challenges and stuff then, ‘Look at your mom.'”
“I mean, that’s a pretty cool thing to be able to teach your kids and it’s like right in front of their face, they see it every day. So that’s the biggest thing for me that has come from it. I’ve always known how tough she is and known how strong she is. That just kind of reinforce it in my mind, but for me, I just appreciate the moments we get.”
Kelly Started Experiencing Symptoms in January 2018
Kelly first started noticing something was not quite right in January 2018. She explained some of her first symptoms before the couple realized she needed to get checked out.
“The first moment I was really concerned was last January,” Kelly noted during her ESPN feature. “I was in Michigan, and had just gotten a massage. When I walked out, I just didn’t feel right. I was lightheaded and it felt like the world was spinning around me. I texted Matthew: ‘I might need you to come pick me up.’ But then I waited a little bit in my car, and started feeling better, so I drove home myself.
“A week later, it happened again. This time, I was holding our daughter, Hunter, who was just an infant. The room started spinning around me and I felt like I was going to fall down. I almost threw Hunter to Matthew, because I didn’t want her to go down with me.”