As a few of my closest friend already know, I ended up in ICU exactly 2 weeks ago because of a hemorrhagic stroke. Totally unexpected and caught everyone off-guard – especially me! I was fortunate for many reasons, one of which was being able to recognize the symptoms quickly and then NOT being a typical guy in how I responded!
I was just sitting down to some lunch and a glass of water slipped out of my left hand. So when I got up to fetch a towel from the kitchen, my left leg gave out and I found myself stumbling around trying to catch my balance. My left side was feeling numb, like when you slept on your side too long and your circulation was cut off. I was fortunate enough to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and one of the guys living downstairs was home. So Jeff was able to rush me over to the hospital in 5 minutes. That was pure luck and everything came together to make it easier for recovery.
My initial reaction was that I might have been tired so perhaps I should head off to bed and take a short nap; which the doctors told me is how most people tend to react. Doing that would likely have ended disastrously – the neurosurgeon later told me that after reviewing my CT scans, my brain bleed was just 2 centimeters from causing total paralysis or even death, especially if I’d taken that common approach of shaking it off and going to bed! Thankfully, everything came together and here I am writing from home after being discharged from the ICU a week ago!
All of this happened literally days after a study had just been released by Craig Hospital and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) correlating the risk of stroke to be 10X higher for people who have suffered a TBI(s) in the past. Here’s the press release announcing their long-term study:
Craig Hospital/CDC Study Published in Stroke Finds Tenfold Higher Stroke Risk in TBI Patients
Study led by Craig Hospital with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds the rate of stroke incidence 10 times higher in patients with traumatic brain injury
Englewood, Colo., July 21, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The findings from a groundbreaking study conducted by researchers at Craig Hospital—a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital and research center that specializes in the care of people who have sustained a spinal cord and/or a brain injury—along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have been published in the latest edition of the American Heart Association’s journal, Stroke. The study, titled “Acute Ischemic Stroke After Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: Incidence and Impact on Outcome” found that many individuals who experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) also suffer an acute stroke at the time of injury.
The study is the first to evaluate and characterize the risk factors and incidence of acute ischemic stroke (AIS) in the hours or days immediately after experiencing a TBI, and its role in outcome for these severely injured patients.
“The findings of this investigation are potentially important for patients who present initially with brain trauma but quickly develop stroke that may not immediately be recognized,” said Robert Kowalski, MD, MS, principal investigator at Craig Hospital, who led the stroke research project. “This is particularly true in younger patients, for whom a stroke suspicion may be low in the emergency department setting, but for whom a stroke may cause lifelong deficits.”
You can read the rest of their press release by clicking HERE.
And as some of you also know, I had a serious concussion myself 7 years ago in 2010 after a severe rearend collision on the freeway going though downtown Seattle on a clear summer day.
While I could never begin to imagine what most of my retired NFL buddies have endured over the years, I can honestly say that these personal experiences truly make me even more empathetic to what each of you is going through on a daily basis. And then there’s this: Of the 111 brains tested for CTE so far, 110 were found to have CTE!
Updated 3:26 PM ET, Wed July 26, 2017
(CNN)Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, known as CTE, was found in 99% of deceased NFL players’ brains that were donated toscientific research, according to a study published Tuesday in the medical journal JAMA.
So the question once again comes down to ‘What did they know and when did they know it?‘ It’s all about details and stats 24/7. After all, how else would the bookies know all the odds when it domes down to accurately predicting and gaming the spreads? So does anyone think it’s a stretch that the NFL has probably already known about the high likelihood of strokes among football players compared to the general population?
So my hope is that some of you will post your personal experiences with strokes after you retired from the game. I know I’ve heard a few of your stories over the years. And if you have a longer story to share, let me know and maybe we can even make a full post out of your story just like we did when this blog first started. Putting everyone’s story out there will educate the public – especially fans – so the size and scope is finally exposed once again, just as when we first pointed out how over 95% of retired players were being denied access to their EARNED benefits over the years. The more we can publicize this, the better.
Hopefully, some of the lawyers will see this. And – fingers crossed – someone at the PA will also read this and realize that this might need to be specifically addressed in the next CBA.
And I’m still here just as each of you are too! Bring it on!
P.S. – EDITOR’S NOTE: Almost forgot to pass this along: Like many of you, I’ve also been enjoying the benefit of Omega3 fish oils for brain healing and controlling inflammation. I was taking between 8 – 10 grams a day and I know many of you guys have been taking even more. But one of the doctors told me that too much of a good thing can also have consequences. Turns out that fish oils can also act as a blood thinner, which in the case of a stroke, may have adverse effects. Who knew?!!
Please be sure to discuss this with your care providers asap to get the best advice for your needs!