Migraines & Stroke Force Football Player Into Early Retirement

When we discuss Migraine disease, many people try not to think of the long term complications it may have in store for us. As we approach the football season, there is bound to be more news about the effects of head injuries in sports which includes Migraines and headaches. Jordan Kohout, a college football player from Wisconsin knows all too well the devastating effects Migraine disease can have. Recent news from his college football team, the University of Wisconsin Badgers, is that Kohout’s football career is over because he has suffered two minor strokes due to Migraine.1

Kohout, a 21 year-old defensive tackle, started having chronic head pain during spring practice earlier this year. His doctors were concerned enough to order an MRI that unfortunately revealed he had sustained two minor strokes. Kohout has been an important member of the defensive line and has always loved football. He remembers having a few Migraine attacks in high school, but none of them were as intense as the attacks he experienced this past spring. He noted that every time he had contact in practice he’d get a Migraine – and defensive linemen frequently take hard hits. Kohout was quoted as saying, “It starts with a light flash, light streaks; migraine sufferers call it aura. Tunnel vision would kind of form and it was followed by pretty intense pain; sometimes vertigo, too. I’d have them every time I had contact in practice… I woke up one day with streaks of light and I had them the whole day. It was pretty awful.”1

Kohout is a young man who is active, clearly in shape, and likely experiences Migraine with aura– which increases his risk of stroke. Interestingly enough, Kohout didn’t even realize his symptoms could be signs of something more serious than his typical attacks.2

After much deliberation, Kohout recently made the difficult decision to stop playing football. He will, however, stay on the team as a student assistant coach, now part of his medical hardship scholarship.

If this news doesn’t sound yet another alarm for a change in football, I don’t know what will. With proper training and education it can remain a great sport while reducing the number of concussions and increasing player safety.

Sources 1. Hinton, Matt. Migraines, ‘small strokes’ force Wisconsin lineman Jordan Kohout into early retirement.” Available at: http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/eye-on-college-football/19637884/migraines-small-strokes-force-wisconsin-lineman-jordan-kohout-into-early-retirement. CBSSports.com. Last updated July 23, 2012. 2.Lucas, Mike. “A New Chapter: Migraine issues cut Kohout’s Badger career short.” Available at: http://www.uwbadgers.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/072012aaa.html. UWBadgers.com. Last updated July 20, 2012.3.Rittenbert, Adam. “Badgers’ Jordan Kohout’s career over.” Available at: http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8183772/migraines-end-career-wisconsin-badgers-defensive-tackle-jordan-kohout. ESPN.com. Last updated July 20, 2012.

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Comments

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  • Not Carly Simon
    6 years ago

    Percy Harvin is one of my favorite people in the world. He’s a Viking and he gets chronic migraines, to the point that earlier in his career, he was missing 2-3 days a week of practices because of migraines. He saw a nutritionist and was able to get rid of some food triggers that he had and has missed fewer games but he is still scratched from the roster 1 or 2 games a year because of his migraines. The fact that someone with migraines can compete and function at that level is really amazing.

  • Not Carly Simon
    6 years ago

    Overview of what he did

    http://hamptonroads.com/2011/06/percy-harvin-chesapeake-migraines-may-be-history

    He’s trying to get a trade because he’s mad at the Vikings’ head office but, like all migraine sufferers, his history of them hurts his marketability.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ap-source-harvin-requests-trade-131143366–nfl.html

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator author
    6 years ago

    It is great to hear that Harvin has been able to reduce his Migraine frequency. That must be a relief for him and his team!

  • Sara
    6 years ago

    Thanks for the great info Nancy. I really feel for young people who have migraines disrupt their lives so early. I’m so thankful I made it to around 30 before my migraines screwed up my life!

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator author
    6 years ago

    Thanks for reading Sara. Migraines as you know can be awful. How many Migraines do you get a month?

  • 100dollarheadache
    6 years ago

    I CAN FEEL FOR THIS DIVISION 1 ATHLETE. BUT IT COMES AS NO SURPRISE THAT HE SUFFERS MIGRAINE. I TOO PLAYED HIGH SCHOOL AND JUNIOR COLLEGE .I SUFFERED AT LEAST 5 CONCUSSIONS IN MY PLAYING DAYS. I BELIEVE THAT WAS THE ONSET OF THE CYCLE OF MIGRAINES I SUFFER TODAY. TO DATE I HAVE HAD 8 CONCUSSIONS. I TRULY BELIEVE THAT IS WHY I SUFFER TODAY. MY LAST CONCUSSION WAS IN 2003. I WAS INVOLVED IN A WORK RELATED MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT IN MY DELIVERY TRUCK. THE NEXT DAY I SUFFERED MY FIRST MIGRAINE BUT AT THE TIME I DID NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME. I HAD THE AURA AND BEGAN TO VOMIT AND COULD NOT STOP. I WAS SICK FOR 3 DAYS. THIS SET INTO MOTION MY ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON SENDING ME TO A NEUROLOGIST WHO DIAGNOSED ME WITH MIGRAINES. I WAS SUFFERING 10 MIGRAINES A MONTH DURING THIS TIME PERIOD. AT TIMES I WAS SICK 2 TO 3 DAYS EVERY MIGRAINE EPISODE. THIS WAS A VERY BAD PERIOD IN MY LIFE BECAUSE I ALSO HAD OTHER INJURIES THAT WOULD REQUIRE 6 SURGERIES OVER THE NEXT 4 YEARS. I HAVE RECOGNIZED SOME MIGRAINE TRIGGERS AND THIS HAS REDUCED SOME OF THE HEADACHES BUT I STILL SUFFER BADLY. MY NEUROLOGIST BELIEVES THAT MY MIGRAINES ARE POST CONCUSSIVE. MY MEDICATION IS VERY EXPENSIVE AND I AM NOT SHY TO ASK HIM FOR SAMPLES. I USE A TRIPTAN INJECTABLE NEEDLE FOR MY WORST MIGRAINE HEADACHES. THEY COST ABOUT ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS A PIECE, THUS MY USERNAME; 100 DOLLAR HEADACHE. I HAVE MISSED ALOT OF EVENTS DUE TO MIGRAINE. IT TAKES A TOLL ON YOU, YOUR SOCIAL LIFE AND RELATIONSHIPS. SOME FAMILY MEMBERS DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW SICK I REALLY GET. THAT IS UNTIL I BEGIN TO VOMIT NON STOP FOR 30 MINUTES. LEAVING ME DEHYDRATED

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator author
    6 years ago

    Thanks so much for reading 100 dollar headache! Something you may want to think about is that neurologists are not all necessarily Migraine specialists and Migraine specialists are not all neurologists. You might want to think about seeing a Migraine specialist to help with your post concussive issues. Just a thought. Most of my head pain stems from a concussion, so I totally understand.

  • Sara
    6 years ago

    Hang in there 100 dollar headache!

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