When former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar did a radio interview last month, he did not sound like himself. In fact, he was so unintelligible in the radio interview that everyone showed great concern for his mental state of health. The very next day, Kosar denied anything was wrong and that he was feeling fine, showing surprise about the reaction to his interview.
Now, according to a report by Tom Reed of The Plain Dealer, Kosar has come out to acknowledge that he is receiving medical treatment for brain trauma.
On the same day of the findings of Junior Seau’s brain, hearing that Bernie Kosar is being proactive in seeking treatment can be considered a positive step in the right direction. Kosar has acknowledged the doctor he is working with has given him techniques to help increase blood flow to the brain, making him sleep better and feel better.
At a news conference Thursday at a Cleveland hotel, Kosar praised the work of Dr. Rick Sponaugle, who is based out of Florida.
“When I heard some of the things he was capable of doing I was bluntly a little skeptical . . . but just after a few weeks of treatment to not have the ringing in the ears, not have the headaches and to be able to sleep through the night without medications and all the stuff,” Kosar said.
Kosar has reached out to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about the treatment he is receiving and hoping that other players will take notice and benefit from his proactive lead in this matter.
“There are hundreds, if not thousands of guys who are dealing with issues and pain and stuff,” Kosar said. “Literally, I think a lot of them are losing hope. I tried really hard to find it. This (treatment) isn’t something I think a lot of guys know about, whether it’s the younger kids playing or the ex-NFL players. I don’t think a lot of people know there is hope for them.
“I hope if there are people and players out there suffering (they now know they) have an option and something that can genuinely help them get better in a short amount a time that doesn’t involve living the rest of your life in pain and agony and on medication.”
Within the past month, Kosar has been through about 15 treatments so far, which take about two hours per treatment session at a location in Tampa.
According to a report by ESPN, Boston University, home of the “NFL Brain Bank” has confirmed 50 cases of Chronic traumatic encephalopathy , also known as CTE found in former football players, 33 NFL players (Seau being the 34th from NIH) as well as former college players and small list of players from high school.
The symptoms of CTE include short term memory loss, insomnia, constant headaches or migraines, slurred speech, some of which Kosar exhibited.
After retiring from football, Kosar has had to deal with personal issues including financial, health and family issues. He was recently featured on the ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary “Broke”, breaking down how players lose their money after retiring from the game they played respectively.
The key in treating brain injuries for everyone, not just athletes will be finding a way to bridge the gap between diagnosing CTE post-mortem and finding a way to detect and treat it while the patients are still alive.
Let’s hope somewhere between the lessons of Junior Seau and Bernie Kosar, we can identify that missing link.