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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