NHL Player Nick Bjugstad Takes Break Due to Migraines

January 8, 2016

hockey and migraines

Minnesotan Nick Bjugstad of the Florida Panthers was accustomed to a life filled with quick hits and brutal blows. You can’t play hockey without getting knocked around, so NHL players barely flinch at broken bones and concussions. Earlier this season, however, Bjugstad was faced with a new kind of injury that he didn’t know how to handle.

Nick Bjugstad Suffers from Migraines

As of November 30, 23-year-old Bjugstad rested his skates and began spending time with the team’s medical trainers. Despite spending the season as Florida’s leading goal scorer, Bjugstad decided to take a month off the ice after migraine attacks came out of nowhere, making it impossible for him to play.

The intensity of the migraines was so strong that he said he simply couldn’t handle it anymore. As someone who had never suffered from migraines previously, not only was he in pain, but he was also frustrated and confused about the cause of the headaches.

What Causes Migraines?

Even though migraine pain affects 29.5 million Americans, the exact cause of migraine is not fully understood. It is likely that inflammation in the brain is a key factor. Inflammation can cause veins and arteries in the brain to swell and put pressure on nearby nerves, leading to the headache. Migraine sufferers often claim that triggers like stress, unusual sleep schedules, skipped meals, cold weather, bright lights and loud noises can trigger migraines. Some people even feel that exercise brings on a migraine.

As someone who frequently gets a knock to the head, has an unpredictable schedule and spends a lot of time in cold, bright, noisy hockey arenas, it seems that hockey players could be at major risk for migraine headaches. Luckily, after missing fifteen games this season, Bjugstad just returned to the ice this week.

Getting Back to the Ice (And Life) After Migraine

Almost 5 million Americans are stricken with a migraine every month and 91% of migraine sufferers are unable to work or function when they have a migraine. While not everyone can take a month off because they are suffering from migraines, it is important to make as much time as you can to get the management that you need to help you get to a functioning level. Bjugstad is working closely with his medical team and we look forward to seeing him on the ice.


Health Union, LLC. (2016). Migraine statistics. Retrieved from https://migraine.com/migraine-statistics/

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