Philadelphia Eagles News

Head Athletic Trainer Rick Burkholder

Opening statement: "As I promised you yesterday, we'd give you an update. As I told you yesterday, (DT) Mike Patterson had a seizure on the field. My medical team took care of him on the field, and then he was transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital yesterday, spent the night there last night, and was still there this morning. During that time at the hospital, they went through a series of evaluations and testing, and they eliminated a lot of things that didn't cause a seizure including dehydration, head injury, any kind of neck trauma. What they did determine through some of the testing is that Mike has a congenital tangle of blood vessels right outside his brain that is called arteriovenous malformation, or what we refer to as AVM. I'm pretty sure that's what caused the seizure. We're pretty sure it was not football related. Now, the next course of evaluation and treatment for Mike is that they'll continue to do testing, possibly some in Lehigh Valley and some in Philadelphia. This whole process is being headed by our team physician, Dr. Gary Dorshimer, who is our internal medicine doctor and has been in constant contact with the Lehigh Valley people all afternoon yesterday and was up last night there consulting with Mike and his wife. He'll head up the process of finding the best treatment, the best testing to figure out what we need to do for treatment, and then finding the best neurology people to take care of the issue. I told you yesterday that I wouldn't speculate on what happened to Mike other than that he had a seizure because there are so many things that can go on, and we think now it is this AVM, we would have been foolish yesterday to speculate that it was dehydration or head trauma without knowing. So, I'm not going to stand up here and speculate what the treatment plan is going to be because we don't know and there is still testing that needs to go on. I'm not going to speculate what our medical team, Mike Patterson and his family are going to decide on who's going to treat his condition. I'm certainly not going to speculate as to whether Mike will return to football now, this season, next season. It's foolish to speculate that and I don't want to sensationalize things. What I do want to tell you guys is he had a seizure, he got great care on the field, he got great care at Lehigh Valley Hospital, and he is still undergoing some testing for the condition and we'll get a treatment plan together."

On whether there have been other cases of this in the NFL before: "I don't know that. The answer to your question is no directly, but this story is still breaking. My colleagues, the 32 head athletic trainers in the National Football League and the medical staffs that cover those teams are very close-knit. I'm sure as this story breaks, I'll get numerous emails saying, 'Good luck with it,' or, 'We've had a case of it.' We spent last night with Mike, Coach (Andy) Reid, (General Manager) Howie (Roseman), (Owners) the Lurie's. I didn't really have time to branch out to the reps at the National Football League to find out whether anyone has ever had or played with it."

On what type of treatment Mike will receive: "I told you I wasn't going to speculate on treatment."


On whether there was a grading system involved with the injury: "I haven't been giving any kind of grading system on it. We just know that he has a tangle of blood vessels there, and we're going to address the problem. Our medical team's going to work with another medical team to address the problem."

On whether it is unusual for someone to develop this condition: "My physicians and the research that I've done on it says that he's a little outside the age group to first show symptoms, and it just so happened to be at football practice. It could've happened at home, in the dorms, anywhere. He's 29 years old and it just happened then, so I think it is a little unusual. I think that the numbers say it happens a little earlier than this, but it didn't in his case. There's certain people who have this situation and they never have symptoms. Nothing is ever done about it."

On how sure he is that this is the issue that caused the seizure: "The medical team at Lehigh Valley along with Dr. Dorshimer and our team, we're going to do further testing to absolutely make sure that's the situation. If that's not what caused the seizure, we still need to take care of that situation with Mike to make sure he doesn't have any further problems with it."

On how long he will be hospitalized: "We don't know that because we don't know the course of treatment. Right now, we anticipate he's going to leave Lehigh Valley today, go back with his wife to his home in New Jersey, consult with Dr. Dorshimer, and Dr. Dorshimer's putting together some medical teams now to address the issue. Certainly, this club in the past has always tried to find the best physician's possible to treat this. It just so happens that there are some really good physicians in Philadelphia and some pioneers that have done procedures, and we're looking at that possibility. I know not everyone always buys into this, but when we have someone hurt, ill, or has a condition like Mike, we try and consult with our group of physicians that make up our medical team and then we make a decision with Mike's family, his agent will probably be involved, and we'll sit down and come up with a plan. It's not going to be rushed, and it's going to be thorough. Over the next couple days, you'll find out who's going to treat him, where he's going to be treated, and what they think the prognosis is."

On Mike Patterson's morale: "I sent an athletic trainer in the ambulance yesterday, Chris Peduzzi, and then we were in constant contact with Mike yesterday. Dr. Dorshimer and Dr. (Jeremy) Ng went to the hospital last night and talked to him and his family. I've talked with him a couple times over the phone. You guys know Mike pretty well in that Mike is a man of very few words, he's always upbeat, and that's the way he is now. Truthfully, he's more concerned his guys being out here with not enough help because he's down, and (DT) Trevor (Laws) went down and (DE) Victor Abiamiri went down. He was more concerned about that, and that's just typical Mike. That's the way he is. We assured him everything was alright here and we assured him everything was going to be alright there, and he's antsy to get out of Lehigh Valley Hospital and get to the next step. That's what we're working on this morning."

On his condition now: "He's on some medication to prevent another seizure, so we think the situation is stable and they think it's stable. Dr. Dorshimer is with all of the neurology people at Lehigh Valley Hospital to make sure he's stable before he's released. I can't thank the people at Lehigh Valley Hospital enough. As an athletic trainer and the person who coordinates the medicine for this team, when you go away to training camp and you're away from the medical professionals that you're comfortable with, to have a group like Lehigh Valley Hospital take care of our players is a reassuring thing for me. The people over there were absolutely fabulous and I tip my hat. I know our management team of Andy, Howie, and (President) Joe (Banner) are grateful to Lehigh Valley Hospital for the way they handled this situation."

On whether surgery is a treatment option: "I'm sorry, I just won't speculate on it. We're looking at all those options. With today's medicine there is just a ton of options and everyone wants to jump right in to surgery because that's what been happening, not just with this particular case but with anything. There are so many other avenues out there so it'd be foolish for me to even speculate what's going to happen with Mike. We handle football injuries all the time, but this is a neurological problem. There are some great doctors in Philadelphia and there are some great ones up here at Lehigh Valley, and we're going to get him taken care of. As soon as I know what their plans are and what his options are, and what Mike and Dr. Dorshimer decide, I'll gladly let you guys know."

On Antonio Dixon's injury: "Antonio had a mild knee sprain, and he's being evaluated inside. We'll continue to evaluate him today."

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