September 24, 2019

Is Joe Namath's concussion cure also the cure for our Veterans?

by Jack Kemp

You may be familiar with this NFL Colts quarterback who quit this week because of CTE brain damage. Wikipedia states that:

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated head injuries.[1] Symptoms may include behavioral problems, mood problems, and problems with thinking.[1] Symptoms typically do not begin until years after the injuries.[2] CTE often gets worse over time and can result in dementia.[2] It is unclear if the risk of suicide is altered.[1]
Most documented cases have occurred in athletes involved in contact sports such as boxing, American football, professional wrestling, ice hockey, rugby and soccer.[1][4] Other risk factors include being in the military, prior domestic violence, and repeated banging of the head.[1] The exact amount of trauma required for the condition to occur is unknown.[1] Definitive diagnosis can only occur at autopsy.[1] Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a form of tauopathy.[1]


This is the same painful condition drove Junior Seau of the New England Patriots to suicide years ago - and I suspect a great many veterans who got hit bad by concussions from IED bombs while serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I found an article where Joe Namath, the famed NY Jets Hall of Fame quarterback who is now in his 70s who has been SUCCESSFULLY treated for CTE by using a hyperbaric chamber, the same device skin divers used to equalize the pressure in their lungs and bloodstream if they rise to the surface too quickly from a deep dive and get the bends. As I say, this may well do some veterans a lot of good and end such symptoms like  mental confusion, violence, suicidal tendencies, etc. I don't have any direct contact info here, but there are many details in the article. Hyperbaric treatments have been said by advocates to greatly stimulate new blood vessel growth in human brains (thus, more oxygen and nutrients delivered to damaged brains).

Here is the link to the full Joe Namath article from ESPN. Namath tried various prescription drugs and "self medication alcohol," all to no avail.

And - also - here are some quotes from an article excerpted from the book Incurable Me: Why the Best Medical Research Does Not Make It into Clinical Practice by Kenneth Stoller, M.D.

BEGIN QUOTE 2012, Harch demonstrated use of HBOT to treat blast-induced, postconcussion syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder...

In 2009, and again in 2010, Paul Harch, MD, Director of the LSU (Louisiana State University) Hyperbaric Medicine Department, delivered testimony to both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees reminding them that the epidemic of suicides among military veterans was most likely due to cocktail of "off-label” antidepressants they were being prescribed—black-boxed antidepressants, none of which are approved for treating TBI...

The DOD and VA medicine are unfaltering – they insist that there is no treatment for TBI, while billions of dollars continue to be expended on black-boxed drugs and long-term care of treatable TBIs. Meanwhile, female military veterans commit suicide at nearly six times the rate of other women; for female veterans between 17 and 25, the rate is twelve times the national rate...


Lastly, here is fifteen minute testimony on Youtube by a West Point graduate and Iraqi War veteran whose concussions were greatly helped by hyperbaric treatments.

He states that eighteen different drugs didn't help, that these drugs were capable of causing suicidal thoughts which on of the eighteen did to him until he stopped taking it. The Army officer tried a bunch of different therapies, including psychological ones, art therapy and spiritual exercises. He also talks about his military and family life stress. A Veterans' charity got him to Dr. Paul Harch who evaluated his brain, followed by hyperbaric treatments. This bright, articulate officer said that 3,000 vets have been helped by this therapy. And he states it is used in Russia, China, England and Israel.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 08:09 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 664 words, total size 12 kb.

1 Talking as an old-time football fan here, I'm very, very happy to see that Joe Namath got relief from his pain.
A bit of history: Joe was a star quarterback for an AFL team. Remember the AFL? This is before they merged with the NFL. Super Bowls featured NFL vs. AFL teams before the leagues merged. I don't remember which teams were in the first two Super Bowls, but Super Bowl III featured the Green Bay Packers and the New York Jets, and Joe Namath's Jets beat the Packers, handing Vince Lombardi a thumping defeat that resounded through the sports world. (SB IV had the KC Chiefs murdering the Minnesota Vikings for another AFL triumph, and it was the first Super Bowl I ever watched, and there's an interesting story behind it, but I won't bore you with it. Joe Kapp was the Vikes QB and it's a wonder they ever got to the SB with him...)
During those days I lived in Buffalo and played in a big band that played during the first half for the Buffalo Bills home games in War Memorial Stadium -- got paid nicely for it, I must say. (I was there for O.J. Simpson's first game in Bills' uniform, too.) After Super Bowl III, I remember when the Jets first came to town, they were roundly cheered for their win even though they were playing against "us." Yes, they beat us that day too. Must say the Bills were a pretty second-rate team in those days because their owner was a cheapskate. He paid for Simpson but not for a team to back him up.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at September 24, 2019 09:58 PM (RjlmW)

2 This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free.

Posted by: the impossible quiz at September 25, 2019 02:23 AM (MJEXH)

3 Great article Jack!  Yeah; maybe this will help PTSD soldiers.

Boy, I miss the days when a big band could play halftime. I despise these pop stars and rappers they put up there these days.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at September 25, 2019 06:48 AM (/4O05)

4 Actually, Dana, the Jets beat the Baltimore Colts in Superbowl III. The Packers beat the Chiefs in Superbowl I and the Packers beat the Oakland Raiders in Superbowl II. But this is a minor detail in terms of this article.

Posted by: Jack at September 25, 2019 08:57 AM (oAoqu)

5 Impossible Quiz, I "give this away for free" in large part because I was acting here like a research librarian. I wrote very little of this article, just adding some comments as I cut and pasted excerpts from other people's efforts in research and writing. I obviously wanted to get the word out to people who know veterans and car crash survivors who can very much use this information to get the kind of help that really can work for them.

Posted by: Jack at September 25, 2019 09:11 AM (oAoqu)

6 Jack, thanks for the correction in Comment 4. It's a wonder I remembered as much as I did. . .

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at September 25, 2019 11:14 AM (VJH+l)

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