Rams, Staffords to Pay Photographer’s Medical Bills After She Fractured Spine at Super Bowl Parade

by Thad Mitchell

A photographer who seriously injured herself during the Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl parade will have her medical bills taken care of.

Sports photographer Kelly Smiley was attempting to get a shot of Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford. In the process of aiming her camera, Smiley stepped backward and fell off a stage. She fell to the ground and landed on her back, fracturing her spine. The incident was caught on video and has been viewed on YouTube and social media sites thousands of times. Though we don’t see the aftermath of Smiley’s fall, it is a horrific incident to watch. In addition to her bodily injuries, Smiley also broke her camera in the fall.

In a social media post after the incident occurred, Smiley confirmed the injury she sustained at the Los Angeles Rams event.

“Unfortunately, I fractured my spine,” she says n the Twitter post.

Stafford, who quarterbacked the Rams to victory in the Super Bowl, says he and his team will take care of the photographer’s medical bills. They will pay to replace Smiley’s broken photography equipment. The quarterback and the team released a joint statement earlier today (Thursday) confirming the news.

“We have been in communication with Kelly Smiley since yesterday’s incident and we are sorry for what happened,” the team and quarterback’s statement says. “As we told Kelly, we will be covering all her hospital bills and replacing her cameras. We wish her a speedy recovery.”

In addition to having her medical bills covered by the team, Smiley’s friends have started a GoFundMe Page for her. As of late Thursday afternoon, the page has raised well over $42,000 to assist Smiley in her recovery.

Stafford has come under fire for walking away from the incident while his wife looked on in horror.

Rams Photographer Receives Outpouring of Support

Smiley has become something of a celebrity after the incident and received a ton of support from sports fans. Her social media pages are littered with posts wishing her a speedy and complete recovery.

“Kelly Smiley is a great friend of mine from our San Diego State University days and an amazing photographer,” one social media user says. “The video of her accident while out taking photos is not something we should take lightly or made fun of. Let’s support Kelly as she goes through her recovery.”

“Hang in there, Kelly!” another friend says. “You will get through this and be back behind the camera in no time. Wishing you lots of love and a fast recovery!”

Smiley is a young sports photographer who works as a photo editor for the NFL and the L.A. Kings hockey team. She appears to be a Rams fan and several of her social media photos show her celebrating the team’s Super Bowl victory.