The same day it was revealed that former linebacker Junior Seau was suffering from degenerative brain disease when he committed suicide, Bernie Kosar said he has finally found some relief from the numerous concussions he suffered in football.
Kosar, the former Miami Hurricanes and Miami Dolphins quarterback, held a news conference near Cleveland to talk about treatments he has been receiving from a doctor near Tampa that he called “a gift from God.”
The treatments by Dr. Rick Sponaugle, which involve intravenous and oral medication intended to increase blood flow to the brain, have dramatically reduced the headaches, mental buzzing and insomnia that Kosar said he has endured for more than a decade.
A radio interview in early December, in which Kosar was incoherent and emotional, raised concerns about his well-being. After undergoing 15 treatments as the Sponaugle Wellness Institute, Kosar said he feels 20 years younger. He said he was speaking out in hope that other athletes suffering from head trauma can get help.
“I actually think there are hundreds if not thousands of guys dealing with issues and pain that I was describing, and I think many of them are losing hope,” Kosar said.
Kosar, who played 13 years in the NFL, suffered a dozen known concussions, but there were countless other times when he was “dinged” and temporarily disoriented from a hard hit.
In an interview last summer with the Sun Sentinel, Kosar said, “Toward the end of my career I had smelling salts in my belt for when you got drilled and light-headed.”
He said he tried numerous other remedies, including acupuncture, massage, pain medication, sleeping pills and holistic approaches, but all were ineffective.
“This isn’t something I think guys know about, whether the younger kids playing or ex-NFL players, I don’t think a lot of people know there is hope for them,” he said during Thursday’s news conference, “that there is something that can genuinely help them get better, and it doesn’t involve living the rest of your life in pain and agony and on medication.”
Sponaugle, who joined Kosar for the announcement, said he has treated 18 NFL players, including a lineman who couldn’t remember the play three seconds after he left the huddle.
More than 2,000 former players are suing the NFL, contending the league never properly addressed the problem of head injuries, and in many cases withheld information about the long-term effects. The league is contesting the lawsuits, but has taken some steps to confront the problem through rule changes and funding for medical research.