As strange as it seems, defensive tackle Mike Patterson realized how fortunate he was to experience a seizure on the practice fields of Lehigh University back on August 3.
The seizure was caused by an abnormality called brain AVM, which is a congenital tangle of blood vessels. Typically, the condition goes undiagnosed until there is an event such as a seizure or possibly something worse. That is why Patterson is "thankful" that his seizure happened where it did.
"I really thank God. It could have been a worse situation than it was. To me, it was just the perfect moment," said Patterson on Saturday after his first practice since the seizure. "It was on the field. I had a bunch of trainers, doctors there. It was able to be taken care of right then and there. I'm real thankful about that."
Patterson was rushed to Lehigh Valley Hospital where he was diagnosed with brain AVM and was released two days later. Patterson has been looked at by four different doctors who specialize in AVM cases and he also visited with a seizure specialist. All of the doctors cleared him to return to football. In fact, Patterson is "planning" on being ready for the season opener on September 11 in St. Louis.
"I felt pretty good," Patterson said after practice. "I was looking forward this whole time (to coming back)."
Patterson is taking medicine to help battle against future seizures. Head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder said that the fact that Patterson was sidelined for 17 days dramatically reduces any chance of a future seizure. The specialists each recommended solutions for fixing the AVM. Patterson decided that he wanted to delay any such procedure until after this season.
The first memory that Patterson had of the incident was when he was in the ambulance with medical staff all around him trying to get his pads off and placing IVs in him. As scary as it was for Patterson and his family, he has decided that he won't let his condition keep him from doing what he loves.
"It's just one of the things you can't predict when it's going to happen. You have to go on about your day. You can't really let it slow you down and take you off-track. You just have to continue to live," said Patterson, who profusely thanked the doctors and fans for their support. "That's all you have to do. That's how I look at it."
The team's first-round pick in 2005, Patterson is one of the longest-tenured players with the Eagles. Patterson had not missed a game in his career until when the starters were rested for last year's regular season finale vs. Dallas. Seeing Patterson back on the field was a welcomed sight for his teammates.
"After what happened to Mike, it's amazing to have him back," said fellow defensive tackle Trevor Laws. "He's a leader on this team. He's been here with the Eagles for so long. It's just great being able to see him moving around, smiling and feeling good."
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