Eagles' Patterson diagnosed with brain condition


BETHLEHEM, Pa.Eagles defensive tackle Mike Pattersons seizure during practice Wednesday was likely caused by a brain AVM, a potentially dangerous tangling of arteries and blood vessels inside the brain that is often treated either with surgery or radiation, a team official said Thursday morning.

It was not immediately clear how the condition will affect Pattersons football career and when or if hell be cleared to return to the Eagles.

Im not going to stand up here and speculate for you guys what the treatment plans going to be, because we dont know, because theres still testing that has to go on, Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder said after the Eagles practiced Thursday morning. Im not going to speculate on what our medical team and Mike Patterson and his family are going to decide on whos going to treat his condition, and Im certainly not going to speculate on whether Mike will return to football, now, this season, next season. Its foolish to speculate on that and I dont want to sensationalize those things.

Burkholder said Patterson was likely born with the AVM (arteriovenous malformation) and said his seizure had nothing to do with Patterson's football activity.

Patterson collapsed and suffered a four-minute seizure during the Eagles Wednesday morning practice at training camp at Lehigh University. He was transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, where he underwent a battery of tests on Wednesday, including an MRI that revealed the AVM.

Burkholder said Patterson will likely be released from Lehigh Valley Hospital on Thursday and return home to South Jersey with his wife, then meet later in the day with team physician Gary Dorshimer, an internal medicine specialist, to discuss his treatment options and his next course of action.

An AVM is basically a tangle of arteries, blood vessels and veins inside the brain that causes blood to travel abnormally from the arteries to the veins without moving through the capillaries. In more serious cases, bleeding in the brain occurs, but Burkholder said Patterson has not experienced that.

Mike has a congenital tangle of blood vessels right outside his brain, Burkholder said. Were pretty sure thats what caused the seizure, were pretty sure its not football related, and now the next course for Mike is that theyll continue to do testing, possibly some at Lehigh Valley, possibly some in Philadelphia. ...

Dr. Dorshimer will head up the process of finding the best treatment, finding the best testing, and figure out what we need to do for treatment, and then find the best neurology people to take care of the issue.

Burkholder said that even if further testing reveals that the AVM did not cause the seizure, the AVM will still have to be addressed.

He said the AVM is a condition Patterson was born with and the seizure had nothing to do with football.

It just so happened to be at football practice, he said. It could have happened at home, it could have happened up at the dorms, it could have happened anywhere. It just happened there.

Patterson's agent J.R. Rickert, however, tweeted that AVM is not Patterson's definitive diagnosis and released the following statement:

Media reports are not accurate. Mike has not yet decided on surgery. He has not received an official diagnosis of a brain AVM and is continuing to be evaluated by multiple doctors. Once we know the course of treatment and timetable for recovery, Mike and his wife Bianca will decide how to proceed.

Burkholder said Patterson is on medication to prevent another seizure and said he likely wont have to be hospitalized in the coming days as he, his family and his doctors determine a treatment plan.

Burkholder said Patterson was in good spirits throughout the day Wednesday and Thursday morning.

He is a man of very few words, hes always upbeat, and thats the way he is now, Burkholder said. "Truthfully, he was more concerned about his teammates being out here with not enough help because hes down and Trevor Laws went down, Victor Abiamiri went down, and he was more concerned with that. Thats typical Mike.

We assured him everythings all right here, we assured him that everythings going to be all right there. Hes antsy to get out of Lehigh Valley Hospital and get to the next step, and thats what were working on this morning.

Patterson, 27, was the Eagles first-round pick out of USC in 2005. Hes played in 95 regular-season games and seven playoff games as an Eagle, more than anybody else on the current roster.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com

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