Nelson seeking migraine answers

Posted Jan 5, 2011

While most of the players on Buffalo’s roster are already enjoying some down time in their hometowns, tight end Shawn Nelson will be seeking answers today in Miami. Answers for the periodic migraines that returned for about a one month stretch late this season and ultimately landed Nelson on injured reserve.

“I’m seeing a doctor in Miami and he’s a real well known doctor, Dr. Wilner out of Miami,” said Nelson. “He’s a specialist and well known with headaches, so I’ll see how things go.”

Nelson has dealt with migraine headaches for the past decade. Unlike the constant migraines of Minnesota’s Percy Harvin, Nelson’s are periodic.

“His situation is a little different than mine,” said Nelson. “He suffers from them all year. I can’t even imagine how he deals with that the whole year. I pray for him and hope everything works out for him. Mine are customized. They come for about two and a half weeks or more every year.”

For a three week period during his rookie season Nelson dealt with migraines, believed to be triggered by a mild concussion that he sustained against the Jets. They eventually subsided with some intravenous treatment alleviating the pain during the migraine episodes.

This past season the migraines returned, but there was no trigger to pinpoint this time.

“I’ve been talking to a few doctors around here and I don’t know what the problem is,” he said. “I had prolonged (migraines) this year where they were lasting longer than they usually do. So we’ll see Dr. Wilner and see what happens.”

Migraines run in Nelson’s family, as his mother suffers from them as well. Migraines can be hereditary. If just one parent suffers from migraines a child has a 50 percent chance of having them as well.

The migraines were only part of what was Nelson’s most frustrating football season ever. It began with a league suspension, followed by groin surgery and then the migraine episodes. He appeared in just five games in 2010. The migraines were so severe that they kept him from even practicing. Nelson knows he has to get the problem rectified or it could impact his playing career.

“I never had a season like this where (migraines) kept me off the field,” he said. “It was a new type of offense we used this year and it was really different and I’m not used to it, but it’s a year for building and next year we’ll evaluate a lot of things and see what we have and what we can utilize and hopefully put together a solid season next year.”

For now Nelson’s focus is pinpointing the possible trigger for his migraines in the hopes of finding a solution to avoiding them altogether.

“I’m getting down to the bottom of it,” he said. “I want to get rid of them.”


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