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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy helps heal WWE Brain Injury

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy helps heal WWE Brain Injury

This is great news for WWE’s wrestler Daniel Bryan! According to the article “after dramatically winning the WWE world heavyweight championship following a pair of classic matches at WrestleMania 30 in 2014, a neck injury forced Bryan to relinquish the title and miss seven months of action.” After a few years of therapy which included Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), the lesion seemed to disappear thus clearing him to return to the ring.

There are a lot of interesting topics to discuss within this article:

This brings up a commonly asked question: Is brain injury covered by my insurance?

There are many conditions that can benefit from having HBOT alleviating symptoms and improving quality of life. Oxygen is a drug and if it is not given to the patient properly they will not get results. HBOT is an adjunct therapy and when combined with the proper modalities, then we get the best results. For example, combining HBOT with speech/physical therapy for our Stroke patients. This can take months to years of recovery with combined therapies.

Most insurance companies recognize 14 conditions for HBOT. Each condition has narrow treatment guidelines and if the patient does not fit into it exactly, they will not cover treatment, and are not allowed to pay out of pocket for treatment at a hospital. Example we get many patients who have serious problems healing and if there not diabetic they would not have covered to have treatment. All the other requirements could have been met, but “almost” does not matter to the insurance company. Most insurance companies state “we’d not cover prophylactic treatment”. Meaning preventative treatment but if your borderline about to lose a limb they may cover treatment to avoid an amputation.

Why do we have to wait until we’re broken to seek treatment?

There is a lot of controversies over, if the repeated head injuries in our professional athletes are causing CTE & long-term brain injuries. Professional football player Joe Namath has a brain research center with Jupiter medical center claiming, “Oxygen healed his brain”. SPECT brain scans are confirming these positive benefits received from having HBOT.

What is a SPECT scan?

The brain scan there referring to in the articles called a SPECT scan, which stand for Single-photon emission computed tomography. This is a type of imaging that came out in 1962. People tend to compare SPECT to CT’s or MRI’s, but this is not a good comparison. CT’s & MRI’s focus more on anatomy while SPECT is showing us perfusion/function within the brain.

When I started in the field insurance companies were not recognizing SPECT as a billable diagnostic image and patients would have to pay $3500 per scan. We would recommend one prior to treatment and again after 40 treatments to reevaluate. We would document incredible improvements post HBOT on all our Brain injured patients suffering from Stroke, Near Drowning, TBI, Concussion, to name a few. Now Medicare and most major insurance companies cover SPECT scans, so there starting to be utilized more.

After waiting three years “which was expected to be his final match of his career” either from the Oxygen alone or the combination of other therapies, we are happy Bryan is healed and is ready for his potential comeback to WrestleMania 34, April 8 in New Orleans!

Example of one of our patients pre-HBOT SPECT Scan. This is a professional athlete suffering from Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS). The arrow is pointing to the area of the brain lacking in perfusion, resulting from the injury that occurred there.

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