During yesterday’s practice, Percy Harvin began his drills for the day fielding punts with the special teams unit. Not ten minutes into the session, he collapsed and began to tremble. It was serious enough for practice to halt and an ambulance to be dispatched. He was taken to the hospital, where he is now resting. I’m really torn by this episode. I know this is not important in really any capacity, but I had Harvin on my fantasy team last year, and through his exciting and productive play, I caught myself becoming a fan of Percy Harvin even though I can’t stand the Florida Gators (where Harvin attended college), or the Minnesota Vikings (I’m a Lions fan…it’s o.k. to laugh, I understand). As much as I enjoyed seeing him rack up fantasy points, I enjoyed watching a really talented kid make big plays even more.
Harvin was drafted 22nd overall in the 2009 draft by the Minnesota Vikings, he exploded with 790 yards and 6 touchdowns, plus 2 kick-off returns for TD’s, an incredible feat for a rookie; to say the least. Plenty of others took notice as well. He earned Offensive Rookie-of-the-Year honors and was entering this season with nothing but positive hope for a return to the playoffs and to build on an already impressive résumé.
What I didn’t know, and suspect most others didn’t as well, is that Percy Harvin has suffered from excruciating migraines from the age of 10. He has had several trips to the Mayo clinic, seen dozens of other doctors and specialists, and received thousands of other suggestions from family, friends, and supporters. The problem is that there is no definitive answer for what can relieve the pain because there is no definitive answer for what causes it.
There have been countless articles, studies, and trials to see what triggers and treats migraines. But were still not much further today than we were when migraines became a diagnosable condition. Some say physical exertion, stress, and sunlight. Some say it has more to do with diet, specifically chocolate and MSG. Others say a lack of exercise contributes the most. I think it’s worthy to note that Harvin collapsed when looking up in the sky to field a punt. Some of the more popular medications out there have terrible side effects (don’t they all), and would not be good for Harvin to take if playing wide receiver in the NFL. Loss of hand-eye coordination, difficulty focusing, fatigue, irritability, and/or potentially dangerous drops in blood pressure would cripple his ability on the field.
From what I understand, this particular episode was not life threatening, nor poses any risk of long term effect. But it does provoke a thought process. In the absence of effective treatment, and continued episodes dealt with as they come, how long before it happens at the worst time, on the field of play in a live football game. What if he were to similarly field a punt or catch a pass and lose consciousness right before a hit? That could potentially end his career, or worse, cripple him or kill him.
What do you do? Harvin is an upbeat, positive, and extremely supportive teammate. He loves the game, loves to play it, and loves to learn from it. When he is not suffering from a headache, he is no more at risk than anyone else playing. But when he is, is he at a level of risk that would be irresponsible of coaches to let him continue to play? One major problem is that, they can come on without any warning. He could feel perfectly fine in pre-game warm-ups, field the first kick-off, and it could come on in second’s, mid-play.
It’s terrible that this is the case, but as much as I would like to see him compete, I would never want it to be at the potential risk of his life to do it. I can only pray that Percy, his coaches, and family gather as much information as possible, find a good treatment, and ultimately relieve his suffering.
Best of luck, Percy…God Bless