Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas told the Buffalo News that three times recently he’s had to pull off a familiar road on his way to work due to memory loss related to the “six or seven” concussions Thomas told the newspaper he suffered during his playing career.
In a feature story on Thomas meeting and talking football with Bills rookie running back Jonathan Williams, Thomas said he “would do it all again” despite being told by doctors that scans showed them the frontal lobe of his brain looks like he’d been thrown off a house or had been banging his head into a car windshield.
Thomas said in the story that after taking one especially punishing hit in a 1990 game against the Broncos, “everything went blank” for 15 seconds, but after chatting with team medical staff he was told to take “a couple of aspirin and get your [butt] back in there.”
Thomas told the Buffalo News that his son, Thurman Thomas III, has decided not to play football as he heads to high school, but he said he has no regrets about playing the way he played. He said that, even now, given the chance to run out of bounds or towards a defender coming up to make a hit, “I’m punishing that defensive back.”
The Bills in March announced plans to retire the No. 34 jersey Thomas wore. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 after a 13-year career during which he ran for more than 12,000 yards and 65 touchdowns.
Last spring, Thomas opened up about mood swings, memory loss and other side effects he’s suffered during a speech at a concussion summit.