Yes, I am a sports junkie, and there is much to gleam from the world of sports. If you do not follow pro basketball, the Golden State Warriors were crowned NBA Champions Monday night, but head coach Steve Kerr is not in a celebrating mood, and it’s because of his back and what’s followed since the back surgery that he got back in the summer of 2015.
Here’s the problem that Kerr has been dealing with since his first back surgery: leaking cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Your brain and connected spinal cord are pretty sensitive. Therefore, the brain and spinal cord sit in a “balloon” filled with clear fluid, called CSF, that cushions and protects these vital structures. This CSF bath helps ward off nasty microbes too. Normally the “balloon” membrane keeps the CSF from leaking out, but if this membrane is punctured, during an accident or surgery for example, then the CSF is no longer contained.
CSF leaks are not pretty and can cause all kinds of problems. This is because the leaks change the pressure in the “balloon” so that the brain and spinal cord are no longer cushioned quite the same way. Messing with the brain and spinal cord can literally mess you up, but you know that, that’s why you’re here! Common problems are headaches, nausea, vomiting, neck or shoulder pain and stiffness, and balance problems. Such leaks can affect your senses, impairing your hearing and sense of smell or making you extra-sensitive to light and sound. You can have strange tastes in your mouth or ringing in your ears. The CSF can make its way into your nose, ear, sinuses or other parts of your body. The symptoms can be debilitating and obviously prevented him from coaching effectively and enjoying his amazing life, coaching the best team in professional basketball.
The problems started around when the Warriors won the NBA championship in June 2015. He had suffered a ruptured disk in his back and then underwent surgery. After the surgery, he began experiencing CSF leaks, which led to another surgery later that year. The second surgery did not successfully correct the problem. Since then, Kerr has gone through a wide range of attempts to ease his symptoms, ranging from different medical treatments to yoga to meditation to marijuana.
To date, nothing has really worked. After the first surgery, Kerr started suffering from a leak of cerebrospinal fluid. Since then, Kerr has been going back and forth among different health specialists (including a second surgery later in 2015), trying to deal with the leaking cerebrospinal fluid that has occurred since his first back surgery. Although CSF leakages can occur spontaneously, based on reports, the timing did seem to coincide with the first surgery. In fact, Kerr told the Washington Post, “I can tell you if you’re listening out there, stay away from back surgery. I can say that from the bottom of my heart. Rehab, rehab, rehab. Don’t let anyone get in there.”