Browns

Soft Kizer Rolls? Not so fast

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.

  1. 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 []

  • akzipper

    If he is prescribed medicine, wonder why he can’t just take it every Sunday before the game? He definitely looked a little “out of it” on the sidelines.

    Can’t blame Browns fans for thinking the worst when he came out. The way the organization lies. I was fully expecting to hear something crazy like he was hung over or got benched and they used the migraine as a cover.

  • RGB
  • Pat Leonard

    Not sure if the medicine works preemptively like that.

  • Pat Leonard

    Good call outs by Gerbs here. I get migraines as well. Maybe one every couple months. The idea of playing through them is laughable. You can hardly be outside during them because of the light sensitivity and the nausea gets worse with physical exertion. The pain is so much that it’s hard to focus on anything else. It’s like your brain is swelling so much that it won’t fit inside your skull. I remember lying in bed one time wondering if cracking my own skull would give me some relief.

    Some people know what causes their migraines and they can plan around them. Some can’t. I have no idea which camp Kizer would fall into. I would be surprised if he has another one this season though.

  • mgbode

    I’d also be curious to what the side effects of the medicine are (especially if he had to take it semi-regularly like that).

  • Pat Leonard

    Right. The only over-the-counter migraine medicine you can buy is going to be something like Excedrin. It’s just acetaminophen with caffeine added. It definitely helps but that’s not what the prescription stuff would be. I have no idea how rough it is on your body.

  • Craig Miller

    Migraine my ass. They don’t clear up in 45 minutes.

  • Craig Miller

    Yes there is medicine that does.

  • Garry_Owen

    It’s been years for me, but I used to get them, too. Your description is spot-on (and I would add that mine would have weird optical blind spots, too – very scary). I know that they are different for different people, but I could not IMAGINE playing any sport after a migraine, let alone tackle football. I was dumbstruck when he came back to the field. He is either the toughest dude alive, or there is some deception going on. I do not blame anyone for their perceptions either way.

  • Pat Leonard

    They can become manageable with prescription medication after 45 minutes. I’d be surprised if his symptoms were fully cleared when he came back in.

  • Pat Leonard

    I’ve had them since 4th grade. I remember the first one I ever had, I was at this after-school event where we each had to set up a table and represent a foreign country and talk about them to whoever stopped by the table. I felt miserable for about an hour, eventually ran to the bathroom, threw up, came back and felt good enough where I didn’t need to go home. I can also remember getting one in college. I was over at a friend’s house with a bunch of people and we were getting ready to watch a movie. I asked to go up and lie down on the bed for a while. One of my friends was playing his guitar softly in the other room and it actually really seemed to help. I ended up feeling good enough to come back down and watch the second half of the movie.

    So I guess my point is, each migraine is different and they’re different for each person.

  • Pat Leonard

    It doesn’t mean that it completely gets rid of them, though. I have a friend who gets migraines more frequently and she takes medication to lessen the number that she gets, but it doesn’t stop all of them.

  • CBiscuit

    I thought the story was going to end with you going John Beluchi on the guitar.

  • Natedawg86

    drink water, change your socks right Garry?

  • Pat Leonard

    That was novel and fantastic when Belushi did it, but would have been some hack storytelling from me by today’s standards. We’ve all seen the guitar smashed so many times in homage since then that I couldn’t take the story that way.

  • Garry_Owen

    Amen. Tape an aspirin to the forehead, suck it up, and drive on.

  • JM85

    Are you guys not doing the Hue Jackson chart this year? It was fun and with another likely crappy season, it’s something to look forward to.

  • Pat Leonard

    I stepped back from my role as a regular contributor, so I think the progress reports are no more. We’ll always remember the Hue faces fondly (thanks Scott).

  • Garry_Owen

    Confession: My fantasy football team is named “The Huge Action Show,” and every week after the games I’m changing the avatar, which is Hue’s face, based on how I did that week. It’s not nearly as good or as refined as yours was, but you gave me the inspiration.

  • JM85
  • scripty

    I think some of it was stress. People forget this, it used to happen to a young Scottie Pippen, including once before elimination game vs. DET. Eventually he learned to handle them, which is not easy and once it happens, forgetaboutit.

    I’d be surprised if these are a chronic issue for him.

  • Eric G

    I’ve gotten them before and am VERY interested to know what he took to turn it around so fast

    EDIT: Ignore this. Read more comments below

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