TV Announcer Suffers On-Air Migraine: Treatment Unknown

July 2, 2012

It was the eighth inning of the Texas Rangers/ San Diego Padres game on June 18, when the bizarre event occurred.  Dave Barnett, the Rangers veteran television announcer began garbling his play-by-play broadcast.  The site reported that he said “Go ahead run is at fifth (pause) on what Adams is insisting on calling it a botched robbery,” and “What actually happened was his henchmen took piece literally out of…” He stopped talking, only to resume his normal game coverage.

That evening, after the game, he went to sleep in his hotel room.  It wasn’t until the next morning, when his wife phoned to tell him about the news reports detailing his odd behavior the night before, that he realized what happened.  He had no recollection of the on-air episode.  The Rangers sent him for a medical evaluation, where it was determined that he had suffered a ‘complex migraine’, the treatment for which is has not been determined yet.

The most prescribed drug fee migraine therapy is avoiding your known migraine triggers.  In the case of on air personalities, there are many harsh stimuli, such as bright flashing lights, loud cheering and job stress, to name a few.  This story was strangely familiar to a story we covered a few months ago about CBS Los Angeles journalist Serene Branson who was covering the Grammy’s when she had an on-air migraine attack with similar incoherent speech.

Barnett’s diagnosis of a ‘complex migraine’ refers to a migraine subtype with aura, accompanied by neurological symptoms, such as weakness, visual distortions or speech difficulties.  This type of migraine attack is often mistaken for a stroke.  According to Harvard Medical School Professor Robert Shmerling, one theory behind the cause of migraines is that blood vessels in the brain narrow and spasm, setting off a chain of neurological events.  The part of the brain, which receives too little blood, may cause symptoms similar to strokes, but fortunately they are temporary.

Drug free migraine treatments for this condition include avoiding triggers such as certain foods, scents, extreme temperatures, bright sunlight, flashing lights, and if you are a woman, excessive exposure to estrogen.  It’s important to avoid stressful situations, and to exercise regularly but not excessively, as that could trigger a migraine as well.  Make sure to get plenty of sleep, but not too much sleep either as that has also been linked to migraines.  If you think you may suffer with this variant of migraine, and are looking for a drug free migraine treatment, ask your physician about interventional migraine procedures that may give you the needed relief you are seeking from this complex and often misunderstood condition.

Photo courtesy © Can Stock Photo Inc. / RTimages

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