Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin has had a rough time with his Migraines this season. He hasn't had much playing time between Migraine attacks, ankle injuries, and seeing doctors to better manage his Migraines. Harvin's Migraines began in childhood, but seemed to be fairly well controlled as he grew up.
However, in August 2010, Harvin had a Migraine attack that caused him to collapse on the field during a routine practice drill. He was taken to the hospital for further evaluation, spent the night and was released the next day with no significant findings. In September, Harvin had a sleep study done to see if sleep issues had any part in his Migraines. Apparently, during this study, he had enough sleep interruptions - pauses or breaks in breathing lasting anywhere from a few seconds to minutes - to diagnose sleep apnea and warrant the use of a CPAP machine. These pauses in sleep can be very disruptive to a patient's life, leaving them at a greater risk for heart attack, stroke, and excessive sleepiness during the day. Sleep apnea may also trigger a Migraine for some. We have more information on sleep apnea and other sleep issues on our sister site, MySleepCentral.com.
Poor sleep hygiene, sleep apnea, along with many other things can trigger a Migraine attack. Finding Harvin's sleep apnea was a good thing for many reasons - his overall health and a possible reduction of just one possible Migraine trigger. But I'm afraid The Vikings went a bit too far when they stated back in September "they could prevent (Harvins') further Migraines after diagnosing them as a byproduct of sleep apnea during the preseason." If this were possible, everyone Migraine disease and sleep apnea would be very excited. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way, because Migraine is a genetic neurological disease, thought to be caused by overactive neurons in our brains and genetics. It's been reported that Harvin is seeing a Migraine specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and is learning more about Migraine disease, its triggers and how to manage them. Good for him. It is so important to become an educated patient, which we often stress here.
While writing this, I discovered just one more reason there is a huge stigma associated with Migraine disease. Percy Harvin is a young, strong, talented football player who has Migraine disease. Football is a pretty tough sport, one where you need to be in shape all year. I think he is a pretty tough guy, just like most football players seem to be - at least on the outside. But just look at this comment from a "fan" regarding Harvins Migraines, it's disgusting, really.
bigdad10359 says in a comment after this news item - it's the 11th comment down:
"Let's see...there are players with broken bones, knee sprains, etc.....and this guy has a headache!!!! Give that &&&& a Mydol and tell him to man-up or quit. You can talk crap about Favre all you want, but do you think a freakin headache would keep him out of a game? Hell, even Haynesworth is more of a player than this guy."3
I mean really, could this person be more ignorant and less compassionate? Clearly he doesn't understand what a Migraine is, and I bet he has never had one. I'm afraid this is just one small example of how people really feel about Migraine disease and Migraineurs in general, not about just athletes with "headaches". Talk about stigma -how to we "tackle" this one? Maybe Percy can help us demystify Migraine disease? What do you think, Percy?
1 Fowler, Jeremy. TwinCities.Com. Pioneer Press. Vikings' Percy Harvin spent last week with migraine specialist at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz. December 17, 2010.
2 Sean. Chicago Sun-Times. Percy Harvin on if he will play Monday: "Oh yeah. December 17, 2010.
3 Rosenthal, Gregg. NBCSports.PFT. Harvin's Migraine Flare up again. December 8, 2010.
4 USAToday. Fantasy Sports. Football. Latest Notes. Percy Harvin.
5 Zulgad, Judd. StarTribune.com. Sports. Latest diagnosis: Harvin suffering from sleep apnea. September 14, 2010© The HealthCentral Network, 2010
Last updated December18, 2010
Published On: December 18, 2010