Famous Migraineurs: Percy Harvin

by Nancy Harris Bonk Patient Expert

Migraines have had a strong impact on the career of Percy Harvin, a wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings. His Migraines have caused him to miss games and practices and even to be taken off the field in an ambulance.

William Percival Harvin III was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on May 28, 1988, and grew up with his mom and sister. Harvin's mother had a daycare center in their home, and he liked to help out as much as he could with the children. He played Pop Warner football as a youngster, and led one his teams to win the Pop Warner National Championship in 2001.

Harvin played high school football at Landstown High School and began to make a name for himself when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds. Harvin's football team won the state championship during his junior year, with a perfect record, 14-0. During this championship game, he had an amazing 476 all purpose yards and five touchdowns. His high school football career soon garnered the attention of college football scouts.

Harvin went on to play football for the University of Florida Gators, staying for three seasons. As a freshman Gator, he seemed to be either hot or cold on the field. Harvin suffered a neck sprain during his freshman year, but went on to win the MVP at the SEC Championship game and South Eastern Conference (SEC) College Freshman of the year.

During his sophomore year, he continued on a winning streak by becoming the school's first receiver to have over 1,000 yards in rushing and receiving. Harvin's payoff was All-SEC first team all-purpose honors and second team honors as a receiver, not easy an easy accomplishment. He was a contender for the Heisman Trophy in 2008.

His junior year was a struggle physically due to an ankle sprain and hairline fracture in his lower leg. In spite of these injuries, he managed to have an awesome year by breaking school records and is the only UF player ever to rush for 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game. In 2009, Harvin decided to participate in the 2009 NFL draft, forgoing the rest of his college education.

Harvin was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings on April 25, 2009. He has suffered from Migraines since he was 10 years old. Harvin's pre-season practices have been pretty sketchy with the Vikings due to a number of things. His grandmother passed away, and his Migraine attacks seem to be more frequent. During practice at Winter Park (the Vikings training center) on Thursday August 12, 2010, he collapsed on the field with a Migraine. He may have triggered a Migraine, while he was doing a special teams drill, as he looked up into the sky. He then went to see the team doctor but returned to practice. It wasn't long afterwards when he started to "tremble" and was doubled over in extreme pain. While he being treated on the field, his fellow players and coaches stood around him to protect him from onlookers. Harvin was then taken to the hospital where he stayed overnight. He was released the next day, but did not practice with the team due to further medical testing. It was reported that he would not travel for the pre-season game against the 49er's.

Harvin had a great college career and his NFL career looks just as bright. But having Migraines from a young age may be a precursor to hindering his success. A Migraineur's life may be difficult at times due to some of the triggers we cannot avoid, such as changes in the weather and hormonal changes. By learning what his Migraine triggers are, Harvin may be able to better manage his Migraines. He can do this by keeping a detailed Migraine diary. Once these triggers are identified, he can reduce any avoidable triggers like interruptions in sleeping patterns, certain foods and dehydration.

For more information about sports and Migraine, see Migraines and Headaches Related to Sports.


Davis, Nate. Vikings WR Percy Harvin collapses at practice. USA Today. The Huddle. August 19, 2010.

Campbell, Dave. Vikings' Harvin out of hospital and 'doing fine.' Google News. AP August 20, 2010.

Percy Harvin Bio. Harvinzone. August 20, 2010

Medical review by John Claude Krusz, PhD, MD.

Nancy Harris Bonk
Meet Our Writer
Nancy Harris Bonk

Nancy wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Migraine.