Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
If you’re like me, you love football. From the spectacle of every Sunday in the Fall to the circus of Super Bowl Sunday, there’s just nothing like the game of football. The competition. The camaraderie. The smack talk. The pulverizing hits. Football has it all.
Unfortunately, with these hits sometimes come injuries, and football’s most notorious injury is one we can’t see: concussions. Concussions bedevil football players and are one of modern medicine’s most pressing unsolved medical issues. If you want to know just how dangerous they can be, ask a football player. Or better yet, ask three gridiron legends.
Former NFL quarterbacks Kurt Warner, Mark Rypien and Brett Favre – all Super Bowl winners and Hall of Famers, all concussion sufferers – have all spoken out on the dangers of concussions in the game, but recently they took it a step further by advocating for a new concussion drug being developed by Odyssey Health (OTC:ODYY).
Rypien in particular has been open about his mental health struggles following his years in the game and has tied those to the concussions he suffered while playing.
Concussion sufferers may have good news on the horizon. Recently, Odyssey Health announced positive results from the first group of patients dosed in the Phase I clinical trial of their proprietary drug candidate, PRV-002. Odyssey’s trial is administering PRV-002, their novel drug to treat concussions, to healthy human subjects. Thus far, the drug has been shown to be safe and well-tolerated. If approved by the FDA, it would be the first such drug ever to be given the nod to treat these serious but invisible injuries.
Each year, there are more than three million reported concussions in men, women and children in the United States and more than 20 million worldwide – yet there is still no FDA-approved treatment to combat the symptoms and long-term effects of concussions. That’s why former QBs like Favre are speaking out about the importance of Odyssey’s breakthrough and the promise of their new drug treatment.
“My very last play, in my 20 years, just happened to be a major concussion,” Favre said in a recent interview on the RedChip Money Report. “Now, if you were to ask me how many major concussions that I had in my 20-year career, I would have told you three, that being one of them of course.”
But Favre was told he would be wrong in that estimate by someone who would know – Dr. Benjamin Omalu, the physician portrayed by Will Smith in the film “Concussion.” That film depicts the true story of how Dr. Omalu fought for better protections against concussions in the NFL.
“I had a good discussion with him,” Favre said in the interview. “And he really enlightened me on the seriousness of concussions. And he was really the first to paint the picture. When he asked me how many concussions I had, I said three, I had three major concussions where I got up wobbly, couldn’t remember whatever. And he said, ‘No, you’ve had thousands.’ He said, ‘How many times did you see stars or have a ringing in your ears or a little woozy but still able to play?’ I said, ‘Oh Doc almost every time I was tackled,’ and he said that’s a concussion.”
And concussions are the primary reason Favre told The Washington Post once that his career was both a blessing and a curse.
“Well, if I had to do all over again, I’d do it the same way, don’t get me wrong,” Favre said of his 20- year career, during which he set a record by playing in 321 consecutive games. “And as far as the curse part of it. It’s the injuries and the repercussions that you don’t really think about at 21, not even 30. If you, if you’re fortunate to play that long, the thing I worry about the most in regards to injuries is what concussions will do to me. After I’m done playing with, you know, the knees and ankles and hips, you can replace those and you can get those fixed, and they’re nagging injuries. But we’re just really scraping the tip of the iceberg of what concussions can do to just anyone, not just football players. So that’s the curse part of it. There is no answer. There is no solution to concussions other than don’t have any. I think recent data has said that there’s roughly 70 million concussions that we know about in this in the world, which cost the world roughly $400 billion in healthcare. And again, that’s what we know about. So the curse part of it is the unknown from injuries, most importantly, concussions.”
Odyssey’s drug may give concussion sufferers like Favre and Rypien, and the millions of other Americans who deal with concussions anonymously, some hope to defeat this invisible injury.
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