Meet Chris Boyce – a 46-year-old ex-hockey player who has experienced Repetitive Head Injuries throughout his 28-year playing career.
Chris was an active kid, playing hockey at age twelve. He started out as a forward, and after his first year, he moved to the net, still playing occasional forward as needed. In early 2007, Chris sustained his first “memorable” head injury while playing forward. After a helmet-to-helmet collision, he saw stars and sported a major headache, along with nausea, but he got up, skated to the bench, and then returned to his line for his next shift. Chris saw stars for the remainder of the game, but the credo of “Shake it off and get back out there!” was the unwritten law. He returned to the ice within three days. During his early career, he was never officially diagnosed with a concussion. Like many, he just powered through it and returned to action. Within the same week, Chris sustained a shoulder-to-shoulder check on the ice and was unable to bounce back as in the past. Chris presented with a stiff neck, shoulder pain, and the much-experienced major headache; this time, the collision was accompanied by dizziness and nausea. Chris’ symptoms didn’t readily subside, so he went for testing.
During his time in the net, Chris received countless shots to the head, along with upper-body collisions. The hits kept coming and he figures the number was well over 1000 by the time he hung up his skates. Chris suffered numerous documented and undocumented head injuries, some mild, some diagnosed as concussions. To find some relief, chiropractors treated him weekly from 12 to 18. He was always told he had whiplash; a formal concussion diagnosis was never mentioned. During his mid-twenties, Chris began to experience neurological and cognitive episodes, leading him to research his symptoms online. His doctors currently suspect CTE or early onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Over the past 15 years, Chris has tried over (76) various remedies and prescribed pharmaceuticals to treat his ever-present headaches, neurological, and psychological issues. Some of the diagnostics and treatments he received included:
2007: MRI – performed with a formal concussion diagnosis
2007: Research performed with Concussion Neurologist – Dr. John Letti: Buffalo, NY,
2009: DTI: (Diffusor Tensor Imaging) – Indicated white matter loss and (2) sheer white microhemorrhages. Additional results: Axonal Shear Injury in the Superior Frontal Lobe.
Chris moved to Florida for diagnosis and treatment from Dr. Delvis Celdran, of Port St. Lucie, FL.
2019: Pet Scan – Results indicated reduced activity in the frontal-parietal lobe.
2019: DaTscan – Results counter-indicated Parkinson’s Disease
2020-2023: NeuroQuant MRI (Tracks atrophy with age): Results determined the presence of (3) enlargements in his superior right lateral ventricle
2020: Nova University in Fort Lauderdale, FL – Tau Spectrum Test Blood Test.
2020: Chris underwent TMS Therapy
2021: Chris tried VieLight – Gamma particle device –
2021: Chris underwent Plasma Services PBM Therapy
2021: Gamma Device and Alpha Device
2022: Aviv Clinic: 12-week hypobaric multi-chamber treatment to stimulate stem cell production.
2022: Spect Scan – Showed decreased activity in the left frontal and bilateral occipital lobes.
2023: Chris was diagnosed with Autonomic Dysfunction
Ongoing: yearly Memory Testing– comprehensive 3-5 hour cognitive exam
Present Medications and Supplements:
Chris uses Kratom, an herbal remedy to stimulate metabolism and promote alertness. Chris uses the leaves to make tea. This plant has opioid properties and is potentially addictive.
Chris also takes lithium orate (10 mg/daily) and alpha lipoic acid (600 mg/3x daily).
Chris experiences the following symptoms on a regular basis:
- Anti-social Behavior and Detachment
- Depression suicidal ideations
- Lack of empathy
- Light and sound sensitivity
- Memory loss
- Rage/anger (blacks out)
- Sensory overload
- Sundown Syndrome (Associated with Alzheimer’s)
- Sunrise Syndrome
- Suicidal Ideations
- Out of Body Feelings
- Trouble concentrating
- Executive disfunction
- 24/7 Tinnitus
Chris is still searching for a viable treatment for his condition. He is frustrated by the inability to find a comprehensive diagnosis, but he is open to pursuing new technologies as they become available. Chris emphasizes that everyone with brain injury should keep trying new tests and not give up or be discouraged because one test or medication didn’t work. He has a healthy diet but will eat what he wants. He has adverse reactions to sugar and correlates sugar intake with headaches and increased brain-related issues.
Based on his experience with repetitive head injuries, Chris advocates excluding players under 18 from contact sports. He believes in the benefits of individual and team sports; however, as youth brains are fragile and still developing their protective internal structures, Chris believes in non-contact forms of many traditional youth sports: Flag Football in place of full contact, non-checking hockey in place of checking leagues, and the like. In his younger years, Chris played the game hard and with passion, but as much as he loved hockey, he regrets all 28 years of playing. Chris says, “The amount I have suffered, and continue to suffer every day, was not worth the fun – or even friendships he had growing up.” Chris wishes the players of his generation were aware of the risks associated with even the slightest of head injuries.
For more information on Concussions, TBI, and CTE, please visit The United Brain Association’s Brain Resources at https://unitedbrainassociation.org/brain-resources/.
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