What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy and what does it have to do with football legend Joe Namath?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, also known as HBOT, is a type of oxygen therapy where the patient goes into a chamber or pressurized room, to breathe in and come in contact with pure oxygen. HBOT has undergone many studies to make sure it doesn't do more harm than good, and it has been found to even make some huge improvements in health over a small period of time.
It was most widely used for decompression sickness, which can happen to SCUBA divers. It's been known to heal infections and lesions that won't heal properly, caused by diabetes or radiation therapy. In an HBOT chamber, the air pressure is raised to three times what it would be normally, allowing your lungs to bring in much more oxygen? The amount of oxygen in your body will then jump to three times as much, which helps wounds to heal, among other amazing health effects.
In 2012 and 2013, Joe Namath underwent 120 sessions of HBOT to try to help his brain, which he feared was beginning to go because of the concussions he's had throughout his football career. Many of his friends who also played football suffered from memory loss and other effects of numerous brain injuries.
Namath noticed his memory starting to suffer, so he tried HBOT. Doctors and researchers studied his brain scans to find out that parts of his brain that had become dormant were now again fully active. Namath is now funding and raising money for a study at the Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Florida, to help further research for HBOT and healing brain injuries.
The study will also make it possible for 100 patients who've suffered traumatic brain injuries to receive the HBOT treatment completely free of charge. These patients include both athletes and military veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, who have gotten concussions, to make sure that their brains don't suffer in the long term.
John Couris, the chief executive officer and president of the Jupiter Medical Center has said: “We want to be able to say to the men and women who bravely served in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as athletes, accident victims and people who have suffered from strokes that we can offer this to them even if they can’t afford it.”
About one-third of football retirees have reported long term brain damage, and likely much more for those who have retired, or are still in the military. The Jupiter Medical Center is requesting $10 million in grants to fund the research for this HBOT study, and for the patients to receive the therapy. The research will take place in the Joe Namath Neurological Research Center in the Jupiter Medical Center.