Indianapolis Colts center Ryan Kelly and wife, Emma, are grieving over the death of a baby daughter.
According to the Kellys, Emma was 19 weeks pregnant when doctors told the family last Thursday that the heart of daughter Mary Kate had stopped beating. Emma gave birth on Friday and Kelly missed the following night’s game against the New England Patriots.
“I was so angry at first that I had to deliver her, only for it to become the biggest blessing out of this nightmare,” Emma Kelly wrote on Instagram. “It gave Ryan and I the opportunity to hold our little Saint, Mary Kate, before officially saying goodbye to her. These 19 weeks with her opened our hearts & souls more than we ever imagined possible & I’m forever grateful we had some time, earth-side, with the little girl who made us mom and dad.”
Kelly, a two-time Pro Bowler, also paid tribute to his daughter in the wake of the unspeakable tragedy.
“Nothing made me happier than being your Dad,” Ryan Kelly wrote. “You gave your Mom and I that gift. You were simply a miracle and always will be. I’m sorry you never got to open those sweet eyes and see us or take your first steps but you have angel wings now.
“You left this world too soon but we know God had a bigger purpose for you. Your mom and I find comfort knowing you’re being loved on by your great grandparents. Thank you for watching over us and your future siblings.”
It has been a rough December for Kelly as he was placed on the COVID-19 list on Dec. 4 and missed one game before being removed from the list on Dec. 14. Then he missed the Colts’ 27-17 win over the Patriots on Saturday.
Kelly, 28, was the Colts’ first-round pick (18th overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft. He has started all 78 games played in his career, including 12 this season.
It isn’t yet known if Kelly will be available for the Colts’ game against the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas Day. He wasn’t with the team Tuesday.
“What we’ve said to Ryan is ‘Hey, take all the time you need, we’re 100 percent behind you and Emma,'” Indianapolis coach Frank Reich told reporters. “‘We’re here to support you, and when you’re ready to take that step, we’re right here.'”
Reich said that the entire Colts’ organization will do what it can to help the Kellys deal with their circumstances.
“These situations, as I think we all know, in life, there’s no perfect formula for how to handle these situations,” Reich said. “Everybody has to go through their process as a family — the mourning and the healing steps that it takes.”
–Field Level Media