When New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath won Super Bowl III in 1969, he had yet to experience all 5 of the concussions that he knows he suffered during his college and NFL careers. “But I know that back in those days, a concussion was not considered enough reason to leave a game,” he recalled as a keynote speaker at the NYIT Center for Sports Medicine Head Injury Awareness Celebrity Sports Forum. As a right-handed quarterback, Namath was struck mostly on the left side of his head, resulting in significant concussion-related symptoms later in life.
Taking part in a pilot program at Jupiter Hospital in Florida under the care of Dr. Barry Miskin, Namath’s symptoms have been largely eliminated by treatment in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber that floods the brain with oxygen and restores blood vessel function in concussion-damaged portions of the brain. “Just like a pressure cooker cooks a chicken quickly, treatment of head injuries with high-pressure oxygen can repair bruised brains,” explained Dr. Miskin of the Joe Namath Neurological Research Center. “And just as it works for players like Joe who got injured long ago, it also works for the youth athletes we see today.” Adds Maxcine Agee whose husband Tommie was on the 1969 Miracle Mets World Series champions, “I wish treatments like this were around when Tommie was beaned by pitcher Bob Gibson.”