Ferris Bueller said it best, “life comes at you fast,” and for DeShone Kizer and this young Cleveland Browns roster, Week 2 brought life rushing at their faces at around 100 miles per hour. While most expectations going into this year were to bring about another rebuilding year, the decent performance in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers brought hope to the organization and fan base. After Week 2 and a hard-to-watch loss to the Baltimore Ravens, playoff parade plans are put on hold.
After an unsteady first few drives, Kizer was pulled due to a migraine headache and backup Kevin Hogan was brought into the second quarter. He eventually finished out the first half of the game, which included leading the Browns on their only touchdown drive of the day. Kizer was evaluated by medical staff and returned in the third and played the rest of the game, finishing the day completing 15 or 31 passes for 182 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions.
On the surface, this seems to be nothing major as millions of people deal with migraines every day with some people1 going as far as to call Kizer soft- as if he should be playing through pain like any other “gamer” would. When looking into some of the quotes from Head Coach Hue Jackson and Kizer himself, however, it situation is more murky and raises some red flags.
When asked about the migraines, their severity and how debilitating they can be, Kizer had this to say: “Depends on how bad it is, but it can get to the point where you feel some numbness in your limbs or your face. You get an aura that continues to grow within your eyesight that doesn’t really allow you to see much and then the pain is pretty tough.”
He continued to describe that the effects started during the game, saying that it happened after he “threw a nice ball to (WR) Rashard (Higgins) down the middle of the field and started noticing some of the visual things.”
Head Coach Hue Jackson, when asked if he noticed the migraine effecting Kizer’s play was quoted as saying, “There was a play that DeShone I think knows extremely well where we send the motion and the motion didn’t happen, and then he ended up looking to a different side so that had not been the way he responded. When he came off and I asked him about it, he wasn’t very clear to me about what it was so then I knew then that something wasn’t happening. He told me, he said, ‘Coach, my head is kind of pounding’ so I knew then that something was not right.”
The quotes from Jackson and Kizer paint a different picture than what most people think of when describing a migraine. I am not a doctor. I don’t play one on TV nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn. However, the explanation of why Kizer came out and eventually was put back in show that the coach, medical staff, and Kizer himself acted correctly. The quarterback position is one of the hardest to perform in professional sports and not being able to see the field fully or having intense pain would crippled the ability for many jobs, let alone one where 300 pound linemen are trying to kill you once every 45 seconds. With where the sport has come in respects to concussions and taking care of those suffering with and through them, Kizer’s migraines should not be treated any differently by the front office, coaching staff, or the fan base.
Kizer has had these migraines for years (he says they are hereditary) and has been preparing for such a circumstance once he arrived to the NFL. He was quoted as saying that they only happen twice a year and that treatment is “trying to put something in your system after you get those signs,” and that “if you have all of your proper medicine, for me at least, typically the shortest amount of time is about 45 minutes to an hour.” If they do, in fact, only happen twice a year, the schedule bears out the Kizer might be in the clear for the remainder of the year, and being that he is the one that has dealt with them for his entire life, let’s take him at his word that he knows how to deal with them.
- radio announcers and callers, the two major and only reasons I have gone completely to the podcast world and away from terrestrial radio for any of my sports entertainment [↩]