The movie “Concussion” has done so much to shed light on the victims of the NFL suffering with long-term mental damage. But it is players like Domonique Foxworth, who played as a corner for the NFL for 5 years, and shows no signs of mental degradation yet, that the movie truly haunts. In his reaction to “Concussion” article, he states upfront that he’s never experienced a concussion that knocked him unconscious and he even retired way earlier than most of his peers. Yet he, like all professional football players, took a number of bumps to the head over the years.
“To me and other former football players, things that occur normally in all people’s lives–like forgetting a name or where the car is parked, getting upset with a spouse, or having difficulty controlling an impulse — can feel similar to the startling sound, eerie shadow, or unexpected footprint foreshadowing a confrontation with the movie’s villain.”
–Domonique Foxworth, Former NFL Player
The scariest factor Foxworth faces is not knowing what to expect. In a recent blog post, I covered the various ways concussions are obtained. The most common way for professional football players is to take smaller blows the head over a long course of time. The result has the same effect as a strong, blunt hit to the head.
What the Movie Didn’t Cover
We have cranial bones inside our skulls. These bones keep a rhythm that pumps cerebrospinal fluid through our spinal cord, the fluid that flushes out waste products. After a head injury, the cranial bones are jolted out of place, causing their natural movement to be altered. This slows the cerebrospinal fluid movement, making it harder to remove the waste products that are produced within the brain.
When this happens, the brain tissue starts to die. The entire process manifests itself into the “second concussion syndrome,” if patients are not treated. Their symptoms will continue to worsen, and they could end up like so many of the players depicted in the film.
When an athlete receives a concussion during play, the doctors usually “treat” them with rest and relaxation. Afterward their symptoms linger and tend to worsen overtime. While resting is important at first, to allow swelling or (in worse cases) bleeding to subside, rest is not a cure nor a treatment.
After the resting period is over, the patient should immediately begin cranial bone movement therapy. Cranial movement therapy is the treatment used to reposition the cranial bones to their original place after a head injury. This correction restores their natural rhythm within the skull, which then reinstates the normal cerebrospinal fluid flow and circulation.
The Player’s Issues
In Foxworth’s article, he says that when he was faced with questions like “Would you do it all again, knowing what you know about concussions, now?” He used to say he would, because those 5 years allowed him the ability to provide for his family’s lifetime. Now, especially after seeing the movie, he’s not so sure. Like him, many players probably look back on all of the hard hits and regret their careers.
For me, seeing these players add this paranoid stress to their lives is heartbreaking. They have a treatment option; they can be proactive. Beginning cranial bone movement therapy now is a step in the right direction. There is still time for these players to repair their brain from the years of damage they’ve experienced. Symptom free, or not, the therapy can increase the flow of cerebrospinal fluid that has slowed down from each head-knock.
For more information on Cranial Bone Movement and therapy options, please visit
Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports