Q&A with Mark Rypien’s doctor - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Q&A with Mark Rypien’s doctor

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Less than 24 hours after airing a special edition newscast: Mark Rypien, Out of the Shadows, KHQ sat down with the former NFL Super Bowl MVP’s doctor, Dr. Daniel Amen, to talk to him about Rypien’s head trauma.

Q: What exactly is going on in Mark’s brain? 

A:  “Like many of our NFL players he has trauma in his brain that affects an area of the brain called his temporal lobes, they're underneath your temples and behind your eyes. And they are easily hurt if you have repetitive hits to your head.”

Q: In regards to the brain scans, what is the grey spot on the brain?

A: “What it is is an area of significantly low blood flow. The scan we do is called SPECT. It looks at blood flow and activity. That is commonly the result of trauma.”

Q: Would you say, or can you say that some of those hits, the damage he's taken to his brain, is causing some of the things he's come out about in recent days, specifically some of the addictions he's struggling with?

A: “Oh no question. Whenever you evaluate anyone you should always evaluate their brain, their biology and how they think, and who they hang out with, and what their sense of purpose is. Clearly, there are brain issues with Mark and virtually all of the NFL players we’ve seen. His emotional brain was also very active were he’d get a thought in his head and would have trouble letting it go and that can sometimes be associated with depression, sometimes with addictions, and if you’ve hit your head a lot and you get a thought you want to do something it’s just hard to control it than when your brain is healthy.”

Q: What are some of the signs of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy)?

A: Depression, irritability, memory problems, problems with focus and organization, follow through, they often have anxiety problems, problems with motivation and trouble sleeping.”

Q: What does it look like for the brain to be put in a healing environment? How can you reverse the damage?

A: “It involves three really important steps. The first is you have to love your brain. No one cares about his or her brain because you can’t see it. So once you see if you can uncover the damage. The second thing is you begin to avoid anything that hurts it: drugs alcohol, more risk for head injury, toxic exposure, bad food, or not sleeping. And then engage in regular brain-healthy habits. We put our players we put them on multiple vitamins, high dose fish oil, brain nutrients. And it just makes a huge positive difference.”

Dr. Amen is a Neuroscientist and Founder of the Amen Clinic. He just released a new book called Memory Rescue, which covers what to do if your brain is headed for a dark place. 

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