How Percy Harvin struggles with chronic migraines

by Diana E. Lee

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin has been struggling with chronic migraines.

If you don’t follow football you may not have heard of him. But let me assure you he is a high profile player in the National Football League and an important component of the Minnesota Vikings’ offense. Harvin has dealt with migraines since childhood (like me), but almost no one knew about them until last season when they started taking him away from his job playing for his team. Fortunately things are finally looking up for him.

He wound up in the hospital recently ago after collapsing with what has been described as an especially awful migraine attack during practice. He was released from the hospital the next day. He came to practice that same day in street clothes, but did not accompany the team to their preseason game in San Francisco. He practiced in full gear at the public portion of the Vikings practice, but reports said he mostly stood on the sideline. Vikings coach Brad Childress told the media Harvin would not participate in practices or games until his doctors had completed their testing.

Kevin Seifert wrote an excellent article on ESPN.com about how the migraines have affected Harvin and describing all the ways he has sought treatment, making it clear he tried hard to get better. I was very impressed with Seifert’s research because it seems as though many people assume those of us with chronic migraines just haven’t tried hard enough to get better. This is not the case with Harvin just as it is not the case with the rest of us. You can read Seifert’s article here: Migraines Now Affecting Harvin’s Career.

Nancy Harris Bonk wrote a great article about Harvin’s situation with his chronic migraines at My Migraine Connection: Percy Harvin: Famous Migraineur. It’s another great read. Her article goes back to his childhood and describes his journey to the NFL, as well as his experiences with migraine disease.

He was recently able to play in the Vikings’ preseason game against Seattle. After the game Harvin said his doctors found what they believe to be the primary cause of his migraine attacks during testing the day before. Harvin is optimistic he will not experience attacks with the same frequency. I hope he is right.

No one knows for sure what his career will look like from now on. Knowing how hard it has been to have my career taken away by chronic migraines, I feel for him. I hope the notoriety of a high profile chronic migraine sufferer will help increase understanding of the burden of this disease, but no one should have to live like this.

Good luck, Percy. All of your fellow migraineurs are out here pulling for you.

Diana E. Lee is a chronic migraine patient who blogs at Somebody Heal Me.

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