My Turn: Head injuries and the future of football - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My Turn: Head injuries and the future of football

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I like most sports - but I really, really love football, and I'm concerned about the future of my favorite sport. 

Head injuries are becoming more and more worrisome.  A report released just this week found that retired NFL players were four times more likely to die from Alzheimer's or Lou Gehrig's disease than the general American population.  That's pretty scary.

Many studies are focusing on the long term effects of repeated blows to the head.  There have been a lot of advances in helmet safety and the rules have been changed to try to minimize head injuries. 

Nobody knows for sure where this matter is taking us.  The NFL sees it as the single largest threat to their business.  They just donated $30 million toward research on concussions and traumatic brain injury.

I hope they find some answers soon.  I'd hate to think of autumn weekends without football.  But I hate even more the thought of us knowing the risks and then just accepting brain injuries as a normal part of the sport and something we can live with for the love of the game.

That's my turn.  Now it's your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at yourturn@wect.com.    


 

Emailed comments from viewers:

I'm the owner of an Orange Bowl and Super Bowl ring. My football career began while playing Pop Warner at age 11, and from the first snap, I played for the pure love of the game.  During the 81 Super Bowl season while playing DT for the SF 49ers, I developed hydrocephalus from concussions, and underwent emergency VP Shunt brain surgery. 

Fast forward to day, and I have survived 9 emergency brain surgeries and several gran mal seizures.  Three years ago, I was taking 4 different dementia medicines, Lexapro, Arricept, Namenda and Reseridal to address my declining short term memory while working as a wildlife biologist/environmental consultant.  My physian told my wife and I, "There is no cure for dementia, you need to file for SSI and get your finances in order." 
He basically told me to pack it in, game over, you're through.

Instead I underwent a 3 day neuro psycological evaluation, complete with micro cognitive memory exams, and began a recovery program using hyperbaric oxygen treatments, and Dr. Barry Sears Omega 3 fish oil and anti oxidants Maqui RX.  Two and half years later, my microcog memory scores have improved nearly 15%, and my inability to sleep and anger management issues have subsided tremendously.

If the game is to survive, the NFL needs to step forward and lead the way.  Installing hyperbaric oxygen chambers in locker rooms, and initiating prophylactic levels of Omega 3's is a step in the right direction.  I wish they had implemented that program when I played.  It could have prevented untold suffering my family has faced these last 31 years.

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In response to your story about football, head injuries and the NFL's $30Mil investment on research to find a solution I say, what if a solution does exist.  A solution that does not include side effects like insomnia, suicide or mood swings just to name a few.  I can tell you one does, and it's called Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT).  This science has been developed, by Dr. Paul Harch and his colleagues, to use oxygen (the very substrate of life) in a concentrated way to heal wounds anywhere in the body.

Let me encourage you to visit HBOT.com and watch the video about Curt Allen a 17 year old who was involved in a high speed motor vehicle accident in which he sustained severe traumatic brain injury.  You will see Curt's improvement progress from totally withdrawn wheelchair and feeding tube bound to up walking and talking on his own power.

And what if we could treat these players in the first hour of their injury?  HBOT can stop the swelling or hematoma when a head injury occurs, reduce the long-term damage and promote brain recovery.  With a solution like this in place the players will play with greater confidence, and the NFL will be haled as the industry to bring groundbreaking change to the medical field.  I strongly believe that if anyone can save our beloved game of football then that doctor is Paul Harch and his team at Harch Hyperbarics Inc. 

I so hope you take the time to look at this and see it make sense, then contact me to help you in any way with your follow-up story of HOPE for the NFL.

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