Transcript for first video
Joe Namath Talks About Brain Injury, Treatments
We're back now with NFL hall of famer Joe namath weighing in on the crisis of brain injuries for former football players. He helped open a neurological research center and now claims an experiment treatment is helping to improve his memory. ABC's Matt Gutman has the story. Reporter: Joe namath was good in the theater of football. Famously guaranteeing a victory in super bowl iii. He was also good at taking hits. He still remembers some of the worst ones. It was a hard hit and a gold flash, man, I never will forget that. Did you know you had a concussion? No, absolutely not. I don't know about concussions, but I had a lot of smelling salts. Reporter: All those hits took on new meaning for him after the suicides of football greats including junior sea. He says he suffered from forgetfulness so he had himself tested where they diagnosed him with traumatic brain injury. You can see here's the right temporal lobe. There's huge asymmetry. Reporter: You can see here how this section of namath's brain is dark. Dr. Lee fox says it's because it lacks blood flow. Namath tells ABC news that like others he had bouts of the blues. Did you ever think of suicide? I've thought about that but I don't plan on doing that. No. Joe, how many times do you think you've been in one of these chambers. 120. Reporter: Instead he started hyperbaric oxygen treatments at Jupiter. They know that this compressed pure oxygen can heal wounds by creating new blood vessels and improving circulation. Doctors here hoped it would increase blood flow in the brain. Doctors placed namath in these pressurized glass tubes 120 times over a seven--month period. Each time he breathed in 60 minutes of 100% pure oxygen and found an improvement in flood flow in the brain and his cognitive abilities. Were you surprised that it's -- Certainly this is a very dramatic improvement. An area that was sleeping and Dore perhaps has now woken up, so to speak. Reporter: Now Jupiter has an early face clinical trial looking at hyperbaric oxygen and brain injury at the newly named Joe namath neurological research center but doctors note this is uncharted territory in the prevention of degenerative brain diseases in athletes. Joe namath may have increased blood flow in the brain but we don't know that that means he won't develop cte. I understand people are looking for hope here, but the data on hyperbaric oxygen doesn't show that it really works. People shouldn't be spending their money on this. Reporter: The trial costs up to $70,000 per person. The hospital says it's raising funds to cover that cost and hopes it can replicate namath's results in others. But Broadway Joe says his memory has improved and counts on being around for awhile. He guarantees it. For "Good morning America," Matt Gutman, ABC news, Miami.
Transcript for second video
Joe Namath Says With What He Knows About Head Injuries He Wouldn't Play Football
As the star quarterback for thirteen seasons with the New York jets' Joseph name it's took his fair share of hard hits. I didn't pay much. The pension. To the fact. There that had been hit in the head several times knowing now what you know about traumatic brain injury would you play football. Again. Now. I hate to say that because if I had a child that wanted to lay out let him play but I'd wait until later on you know like he's developed a little more this instrument that we have that we bimbo list with it's not designed dent. We're the kind of contact in the physical abuse that your body takes playing in that sport this is mister Damon's first scanned he had before he started treatment. Nearly three years ago name it reached out to doctor Lee fox at Jupiter medical center the hall of Famer was worried whether several concussions during his career. Cause any permanent damage. He knew he wasn't a 100% but didn't realize that he really had significant problems. Here's a look at name is brain scans from 2012. Once side of his brain the area that's yellow and orange shows normal blood flow in function. On the other side the purple and blue area the brain cells were getting the oxygen they needed open. Big difference. It's a different that both sides should be the same and we actually see a very big difference between his two temple rooms when you first saw that scanned. And you saw that there were some issues that that had to be pretty worrisome. I was scared of core I don't know now absolutely. You name it became the first patient in what would become a groundbreaking clinical trial at Jupiter medical center. For seven months five days a week he spent an hour inside one of these hyperbaric oxygen chambers. Oxygen has long been used to treat wounds doctors wanted to see if it could heal traumatic brain injuries. Bite waking up damage cells and revitalizing them. Dr. Barry missed skin is the medical director of hyper sex. Would it does is it uses oxygen as a drug and it takes oxygen under pressure and the oxygen is able to get to areas. That normally wouldn't be able to get to because of injured tissue. By the putting it at higher pressures when did you start to see some. Improvement are feeling a little better after. The first forty dives we took another series of cognitive tests than we took another brain scan. And we saw improvement than in both areas. After the first time treatments you already saw significant improvement we sort of basically he normalized to scan. This scans say at all read a number that first look this was name is brain. Now look at it the damage. Gone. Dance beautiful and I really feel like I've gotten sharper yes.
Doctor: Oxygen Therapy Revived Joe Namath's Brain
by By Linda Santacruz, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer September 2014
For a while, former NFL star quarterback Joe Namath didn't think there was anything wrong with his brain.
But when former NFL linebacker Junior Seau committed suicide in 2012, Namath wanted to check his own health.
An autopsy revealed Seau had a deteriorating brain disease found in athletes and others who experience repetitive trauma to the head.
Brain scans and cognitive tests showed Namath, who said he had at least five concussions playing football, suffered from traumatic brain injury (TBI), particularly on the left side, where he received the most impact as a right-handed quarterback.
After 40 sessions of "bathing" Namath's brain in pure oxygen, Dr. Lee Fox of Jupiter Medical Center said the areas that had appeared dark in scans began to show new neurological activity.
"The whole area of the brain just came back to life," Fox said. "He was feeling better. He was finding the right words."
The former New York Jets legend was the Medical Center's first patient to use the hyperbaric oxygen chamber to see if blood flow could be restored to injured areas of the brain.
Namath's recovery led to the start of the Joe Namath Neurological Research Center, which was launched Tuesday at Jupiter Medical Center.
At the center, researchers study the effectiveness of oxygen baths, or hyperbaric oxygen therapy, for treating TBI, which occurs when brain cells can't get enough oxygen to produce new cells.
Those who've experienced sports-related concussions, car accidents, strokes or combat injuries can participate in the clinical trial in which doctors feed high volumes of oxygen into the brain to awaken dormant brain cells.
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To qualify for the study, the person's brain injury must be from at least one year ago, because TBI symptoms, such as confusion, slowed response, and memory impairment, don't usually immediately show.
"The initial decline is really hard to read," Fox said. "They don't remember what it's like to feel good until you actually treat them."
It's been a year since Namath, 71, had his last oxygen treatment and brain scans show the improvements remain. Namath said his thinking is much clearer and he remembers events with more clarity.
"One of the really great results is that my sleep has improved," said Namath, a Tequesta resident . "I sleep more soundly and have vivid dreams. I have more energy and strength."
Based on Namath's experience, the Food and Drug Administration approved the launch of the clinical trial to test the oxygen treatment on 100 patients.
If results continue to show progress, they will apply to expand their research to 1,000 patients.
"Once we have that, we hope that we can treat people through Medicare," said Dr. Barry Miskin, medical director of the Wound and Hyperbaric Oxygen Program. "We want them to take a leap of faith and believe that this will work."
The NFL recently reported as many as a third of players can be expected to show brain injury.
Concussions and other types of play-related traumatic brain injuries among football players are believed to be major causes of suicide and other symptoms such as depression and memory loss:
A recent autopsy for Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher found signs chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a long-term effect of TBI. Belcher fatally shot his 22-year-old girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, and killed himself on Dec. 1, 2012.
Andre Waters, who played football at Pahokee High School and as a star safety with the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals from 1984-1995, committed suicide in his Tampa home in 2006. Bennet Omalu, the doctor who studied Waters' brain, said the damage he discovered was consistent with that of 80- to 90-year-olds suffering from dementia.
Boston University researchers discovered that the suicide of former Chicago Bears star Dave Duerson may have been a result of CTE.
An autopsy on former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling, who killed himself in 2012, showed signs of CTE.
Jets legend Joe Namath calls a play for oxygen therapy
The Food and Drug Administration recently gave Jupiter Medical Center researchers the green light to study the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which has been used to treat tough infections, chronic ulcers and other injuries.BY MICHAEL O'KEEFFE
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Tuesday, September 30, 2014,
Joe Namath has endorsed sneakers, shaving cream and even pantyhose, but the legendary Jets quarterback is now pushing something completely different: hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Broadway Joe returned to New York on Tuesday with researchers and administrators from the Jupiter Medical Center to help the Florida facility raise $10 million to launch a clinical trial to study the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in treating football players, military veterans, car crash survivors and others suffering from traumatic brain injuries.
“Brain trauma doesn’t discriminate,” Namath said during a press conference at the Grand Hyatt in Midtown. “You don’t have to be a sportsman.”
The research will be conducted at the facility’s Joe Namath Neurological Research Center, which officially opened in Jupiter, Fla., on Tuesday.
The Food and Drug Administration recently gave Jupiter Medical Center researchers the green light to study the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which has been used to treat tough infections, chronic ulcers and other injuries. President and chief executive officer John Couris said the center is seeking $10 million in grants to conduct a study that will treat 100 patients free of charge.
“We want to be able to say to the men and women who bravely served in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as athletes, accident victims and people who have suffered from strokes that we can offer this to them even if they can’t afford it,” Couris said.
Namath said he suffered at least five concussions during his football career. He said he has enjoyed good health since he retired from the NFL, but became worried in recent years about the condition of his brain and has watched several teammates struggle with cognitive and emotional problems. Namath said his memory also began to slip.
Almost one-third of former NFL players suffer from some type of brain damage, according to court documents filed in the class-action concussion lawsuit filed by 5,000 retirees.
Namath said the 120 sessions he had in a hyperbaric chamber between August 2012 and March 2013 improved his mental acuity and boosted his energy. JMC researchers say brain scans show oxygen revived parts of his brain that had been dormant.
“Now, if I forget things, it’s my own fault,” Namath said.
Joe Namath Rejuvenated With Oxygen Therapy
By Sylvia Booth Hubbard | Sunday, 17 May 2015
Football legend Joe Namath is helping bring publicity to an underutilized treatment for brain injury: hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Flooding the body with pure oxygen while the patient lies inside a pressurized chamber has been used since the 1930s to treat decompression sickness (the “bends”) that occurs when a diver resurfaces too quickly.
In following decades, researchers discovered that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) was helpful for a host of other conditions, including brain trauma, stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, autism, and Alzheimer’s.
However, the treatment has largely failed to gain a foothold in the U.S. despite its widespread use in other countries.
“It’s the best-kept medical secret in our country,” William S. Maxfield, M.D., a pioneer of hyperbaric medicine, tells Newsmax Health.
Namath, a Hall of Fame quarterback, said HBOT has rejuvenated him.
“I sustained my share of concussions playing pro football and had recently experienced some concerns such as fatigue and decreased cognition,” said the 71-year-old New York Jet icon.
“Also, the 2012 suicide of star linebacker Junior Seau of the San Diego Chargers left a lasting impression on me when I learned that it may have been caused by
chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease, often a result of multiple concussions.”
Namath decided to undergo testing, which included a cognitive assessment and brain imaging, and found he suffered from traumatic brain injury.
Damage was particularly noticeable on the left side of his brain, where impacts during his football years were most severe.
Namath underwent 40 sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy over a period of six months at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida. His physician, Dr. Lee Fox, said that after treatment, brain scans started to show new activity.
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“The whole area of the brain just came back to life,” Dr. Fox said in an interview.
“He was feeling better. He was finding the right words.” In addition, Namath’s sleeping improved.
During HBOT, which usually takes place in a pressurized steel and acrylic tube, air pressure is slowly increased until it’s two to three times that of sea level.
As patients breathe normally, their lungs absorb increased amounts of oxygen — up to 15 times as much compared to breathing at sea level.
Super-oxygenated blood is carried throughout the body, promoting the release of growth hormones and helping the body heal.
Cells are regenerated and, in the case of those suffering from traumatic brain injury, new brain tissue is created.
“A treatment usually lasts about 90 minutes,” said Dr. Maxfield. “It takes 10 or 15 minutes to go to pressurization. The patient then breathes at optimal pressurization for an hour before pressure is slowly lowered.”
The only unusual thing most patients notice during treatment is their ears popping like they do during plane flights as the pressure increases and decreases.
“Brain injuries run a minimum of 20 treatments and average about 40,” says Dr. Maxfield.
Prices vary widely. Treatments at a specialized treatment center usually cost about $200 to $250 per session, said Dr. Maxfield.
If a condition is approved for hyperbaric treatment in the United States, it is covered by most health policies, including Medicare and Medicaid.
Approved conditions include decompression sickness, problem wounds, radiation injuries, skin grafts, carbon monoxide poisoning, and burns. Brain injuries are not approved.
Dr. Maxfield believes that many additional conditions should be approved, such as Alzheimer’s, autism, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis.
“Russia is far ahead of us in this area,” he said. “Currently, 17 indications are approved in the U.S. as opposed to 73 in Russia.”