Bodily injuries are an ever-present workplace hazard for professional athletes, a fact Philadelphia sports fans have been reminded of this week.
Like Carson Wentz’s concussion that ended the Eagles’ playoff run and Sixers center Joel Embiid’s grusomely dislocated ring finger, athletes’ injuries can be unfortunate and untimely, but except in rare instances players know there is a timetable for their return to action. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
The Flyers’ Nolan Patrick doesn’t see that light, yet.
Patrick, a highly-touted center taken with the second overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, has yet to play hockey this season due to a so-called “migraine disorder.” It’s a term that one local medical expert said fails to reflect the severity of his condition, which has left Patrick’s promising young career in limbo.
“The terminology we favor is disease, because it’s something the person lives with all the time,” said Dr. Stephanie J. Nahas, a neurologist at the Thomas Jefferson University Headache Center. “Just like someone with asthma always has it, there may be some days they’re breathing fine, others where they have great difficulty because they’re having an attack.
“Migraine is the same. Some days you may look, sound and feel fine. Other days you can’t function.”
Nahas is not involved in Patrick’s treatment. But she said the Headache Center treats various athletes ranging from recreational athletes to professionals. And there are plenty of people who suffer from the chronic condition.
Migraines affect about 12% of the overall population, with women three times more likely to be afflicted than men. That accounts for about 1 billion people throughout the world. Migraines typically peak between ages 20 to 40.
Unlike regular headaches, migraine attacks are more intense, may occur with greater frequency and can last for hours, even days. They also may have other associated symptoms. And yes, concussions — an ongoing issue among athletes — can bring them on.