Dwyane Wade's Migraines

Patient Expert
Dwayne Wade

Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade is having some real issues with his Migraines. He has endured Migraine attacks for years, but they are becoming quite a challenge as he's getting older.

Wade's Migraines can sometimes "last for four days," ¹ and his symptoms include visual aura, nausea and vomiting. ³ He complies with his doctor's orders, but as we all know, certain things, such as weather changes, can trigger a Migraine and are unavoidable. He's been missing games and practice sessions due to these attacks and recently asked a news camera to lower their lights during a practice because his eyes were still experiencing photophobia (sensitivity to light.) He was however, able to continue with that practice. "My headache is gone, but my vision hasn't fully recovered," Wade said. "I'm not looking up much and I'm squinting still." ¹

Wade's photophobia seems to be profound; if he looks into a camera light, it may trigger a Migraine attack. He began wearing red tinted goggles in practice last week in hopes that they would help with his light sensitivity. His teammates and coach joked about the appearance of the red goggles. Apparently, when the head coach first saw them he, he had a hard time controlling his laughter. "Dwyane is doing his best Danny Schayes impersonation," Spoelstra said, referring to the former NBA player known for his eyewear. ²  He even went on to say "It's goggle-gate."

On January 27, 2011, the NBA rejected the tinted goggles Wade was going to wear saying it gave him an "unfair advantage" because the tinting was too dark and the other players could not see his eyes. He then went on to use the NBA league-approved goggles and didn't have a good game.

While there can be four phases of a Migraine attack; prodrome, aura, headache and postdrome, not everyone will experience each phase. I don't have the aura phase of a Migraine, but certainly have the other three phases. Anatomy of a Migraine explains each phase and is one of my favorite articles.

Typically, the headache phase of a Migraine can last anywhere from four to 72 hours. If someone, even athletes, experience a   moderate to severe Migraine that lasts longer than 72 hours, with less than a solid four-hour, pain-free period while awake, it  may be a condition called Status Migrainous  that could require an office call to the doctor or a trip to the emergency room.

As we try to negate the stigma of Migraine disease, we seem to take baby steps. Most Migraineurs work hard to become educated patients who work with their doctors toward the same goal - good health.   Sometimes this seems to takes forever, but once we've established said plan, and get the tools to succeed, there is light at the end of the tunnel. How awful it must be to have access to this tool, but be unable to use it** and** get mocked by your employer?   Seems like a step backwards in reducing the stigma, not forward.


1 Richardson, Shandel. SunSentinal.Com. Health. "Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade has battled severe headaches most of his life." January 24, 2011.

2 Munzenrieder, Kyle. "LeBron James Pokes Fun at Wades Migraine Glasses." Miami Times News Blog. January 26, 2011.

3 ESPN. "Dwyane Wade's goggles banned."  January 27, 2011.