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Matthew and Kelly Stafford tumor
AP Photo/Duane Burleson

Ever since Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was selected No. 1 overall in the 2009 NFL Draft, he has certainly played in his fair share of battles on the football field. However, there’s one off of the gridiron that might be the toughest one yet.

For the 31-year-old signal caller, his 38,526 passing yards, 237 touchdowns, Pro Bowl selection and numerous NFL victories in the NFC North don’t really matter at the moment. What’s important is that his wife fully recovers after some terrifying news.

Matthew Stafford’s wife, Kelly Stafford, announced on social media that she has a brain tumor and needs surgery to remove it. The news comes after the Lions’ team doctor recommending an MRI of her brain after vertigo spells earlier this year.

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This is a picture of Matthew & I the day we found out. I said I wanted this picture of us, so that the day this was all over, we could look back at this photo & remember. Within the last year, I began to notice things that I thought was just me getting older.. I would show my girls how to do a front roll or twirl in ballet class and immediately feel dizzy & off balance… Things that I had been doing my entire life were now, all of a sudden, difficult. The beginning of Jan was when I experienced my first spell of vertigo..It kept happening & then it happened while I was holding Hunter. Matthew took me straight to the ER. They checked vitals & bloodwork, all were fine.. Several vertigo spells later, Matthew’s team doctor recommended we go get an MRI of my brain to rule everything major out. A few days later we were hit with the results. I had a tumor sitting on some of my cranial nerves. The medical term they used was an acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma.. All I heard was brain tumor & that they had to do surgery to take it out.. so that is what we are going to do & we believe we found the best doctor to do it. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t completely terrified of brain surgery. I am. I am terrified of them opening my head, I’m terrified of losing my hearing, I’m terrified of losing facial function, I’m terrified of far worse things that could happen and I’m terrified that I won’t take the time I need to recover because the guilt I might feel of being absent from my kids for too long.. I am telling y’all this to ask for prayers and support. Things to pray for: -calmness in these next 2 weeks as I know anxiety will run high in myself & my whole family leading up to the day of surgery. -that God be in the room with the surgeons & give them all the guidance, steadiness, & confidence they need. -my safety during and after surgery. -please pray for matthew as I know his nerves will be high during this surgery. I couldn’t imagine being out in that waiting room. Thank u. Thank u for reading this novel. thank u for all your support and most importantly, thank u for your prayers.

A post shared by Kelly Stafford (@kbstafford89) on

Matthew and Kelly Stafford met at the University of Georgia when he was an All-American quarterback for the Bulldogs in 2008. Then known as Kelly Hall, she was a cheerleader for the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens. The couple has three kids together — twin girls Chandler and Sawyer, and Hunter Hope, who was born in August 2018.

The two took a picture the day they found out about Kelly’s diagnosis so they could look back at the photo and remember the battle they are about to go through.

“Within the last year, I began to notice things that I thought was just me getting older.. I would show my girls how to do a front roll or twirl in ballet class and immediately feel dizzy & off balance… Things that I had been doing my entire life were now, all of a sudden, difficult.

“The beginning of Jan was when I experienced my first spell of vertigo..It kept happening & then it happened while I was holding Hunter. Matthew took me straight to the ER. They checked vitals & bloodwork, all were fine..

“Several vertigo spells later, Matthew’s team doctor recommended we go get an MRI of my brain to rule everything major out. A few days later we were hit with the results.

“I had a tumor sitting on some of my cranial nerves. The medical term they used was an acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma.. All I heard was brain tumor & that they had to do surgery to take it out.. so that is what we are going to do & we believe we found the best doctor to do it. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t completely terrified of brain surgery. I am. I am terrified of them opening my head, I’m terrified of losing my hearing, I’m terrified of losing facial function, I’m terrified of far worse things that could happen and I’m terrified that I won’t take the time I need to recover because the guilt I might feel of being absent from my kids for too long.. I am telling y’all this to ask for prayers and support.

“Things to pray for: -calmness in these next 2 weeks as I know anxiety will run high in myself & my whole family leading up to the day of surgery. -that God be in the room with the surgeons & give them all the guidance, steadiness, & confidence they need. -my safety during and after surgery. -please pray for matthew as I know his nerves will be high during this surgery. I couldn’t imagine being out in that waiting room.

“Thank u. Thank u for reading this novel. thank u for all your support and most importantly, thank u for your prayers.”

— Kelly Stafford, via Instagram

This is definitely going to be a challenge for the Stafford family, but Matthew and his wife Kelly seem ready to tackle it and move forward.

UPDATE (April 22):

After a 12-hour surgery last week to remove a brain tumor, Kelly Stafford, the wife of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, is home and recovering. She provided an update on her Instagram account.

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This Easter is the beginning of a new life for me. I wanna take a second to thank all of you for all the prayers. They have worked. I know they have. When they opened me up, I had an abnormal vein.. maybe abnormal for other neurosurgeons, but not the one We chose. He had seen it before and written a paper on it. That’s truly God’s work. The prayers for my family, I’m beyond thankful for. A six hour surgery went to 12 hours and although they were anxious and scared, your prayers got them through. Thank you. Thank you so much. Now I am home and learning my new norm. It’ll take some time, but I really just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for all your support, thoughts and prayers. It means more than y’all will ever know. #cupscrew

A post shared by Kelly Stafford (@kbstafford89) on

“This Easter is the beginning of a new life for me. I wanna take a second to thank all of you for all of the prayers. They have worked. I know they have.

“When they opened me up, I had an abnormal vein… maybe abnormal other neurosurgeons, but not the one We chose. He had seen it before and written a paper on it. That’s truly God’s work. The prayers for my family, I’m beyond thankful for. A six hour surgery went to 12 hours and although they were anxious and scared, your prayers got they through. Thank you. Thank you so much.

“Now I am home and learning my new norm. It’ll take some time, but I really just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for all your support, thoughts and prayers. It means more than y’all will ever know. #cupscrew.”

— Kelly Stafford, via Instagram

The road to recovery starts now and it appears the Stafford family is ready for the challenges ahead.

READ MORE: Dallas Cowboys Legend Michael Irvin Was ‘Terrified’ After Undergoing Tests for Throat Cancer

Author placeholder image About the author:
With over 10 years of sports writing experience, Brett has covered some of the top local, regional, and national sporting events in the Heartland for both print and digital platforms. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and resides in Austin, Texas.
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