Kerney an alternative healer Print
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Tuesday, 29 July 2008 00:13
NFL Headline News

 KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -Patrick Kerney was already coming off shoulder surgery. Then, as he was beginning to ease into Seahawks training camp last weekend, he injured his calf.
The Pro Bowl defensive end will be out indefinitely, to ``shut him down and let him heal,'' Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said Monday.
That means more time for Kerney in his $1,200 hyperbaric chamber and on silver-lined ``earthing'' sheets.
And if this was the regular season, he would be amping up the settings on the electric stimulation machine he uses before games to fire up his adrenal glands.
``My thing is, this is such a detailed-oriented game. If you can put an investment into yourself and it makes it 1 percent better, that's pretty significant where the competition is so close,'' said Kerney, who was second in the NFL with 14 1/2 sacks last season.
Seahawks defensive coordinator John Marshall, an old-school, just-results guy, rolls his eyes at the alternative methods Kerney employs to be one of the NFL's elite pass rushers. Then Marshall laughs.
``If it makes you perform like that on Sunday, you bet, I'll take two'' such gizmos, he said.
The 60-year-old Holmgren added: ``That's new stuff for me. But if they believe in it, and it works for them and their mind's telling their body it's working ... why not? Plus, they all make a lot of money so they can probably afford all those little doodads.''
Injuries are nothing new for Kerney. Getting hurt is the reason he became a star at Virginia, a Pro Bowl pass rusher with Atlanta in 2004, then ultra wealthy. Seattle signed him to a free-agent contract with $19.5 million guaranteed before last season.
In his senior year of high school at The Taft School in Watertown, Conn., Kerney tore ligaments in his knee and ankle. He vowed he was done with football and signed a scholarship to play lacrosse at Virginia.
While away from football, he realized he missed that sport dearly. After two seasons on Virgina's lacrosse team, he went back to football. He became an All-Atlantic Coast Conference end and a first-round draft pick of the Falcons in 1999.
After his third year in the NFL, Kerney thought his left knee was arthritic. Doctors and MRIs said there was no problem, but an acupuncturist got blood flowing back in Kerney's knee.
A career reborn.
``OK, there's some stuff that is sort of 'out-there' that can really help things that you don't really have an answer for,'' Kerney remembers thinking.
Like the hyperbaric chamber. His looks like a puffed sleeping bag. He rests in it for a few hours twice a week.
Kerney said he was able to play through a torn triceps in 2006 because he slept in teammate Travis Hall's hyperbaric chamber for a month.
``I'd knock on the door, 10 o'clock every night, say hello to his wife, his kids, go down to his basement and go to sleep in his basement in his hyperbaric chamber,'' Kerney said. ``The fact that it still healed up while playing with it on Sundays was a good indicator to me.''
Dr. Neil Hampson doesn't believe.
Hampson is the director of the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine at Seattle's Virginia Mason Medical Center. His $7 million clinic includes conventional, steel hyperbaric chambers. He's seen pictures of Kerney's ``hyperbaric chamber'' and said it appears to simply be a Gamow bag, a pressurized sack climbers use to combat altitude sickness.
``There is no proven efficacy of these 'Ziploc bags' - for lack of a better term - other than for altitude sickness, which is the only use the FDA has approved them for,'' Hampson said.
``If psychologically Patrick Kerney thinks that by having one of these he will bring down 15 more running backs next weekend, that's great for him. I have no problem with that,'' Hampson said. ``The problem is people read this and think it's a true medical solution,'' for muscle injuries.
Then there's the ``earthing'' sheets, which look like every-day bed linens - except they cost up to $600. Kerney got introduced to those by Dr. Gerry Ramogida, a chiropractor based in British Columbia who works with the Seahawks and is certified in soft-tissue movement.
The sheets plug into an electrical outlet and are lined with tightly woven silver threads designed to conduct the earth's energy and put the body in rhythm with the naturally free electrons emitted by the earth's core energy.
Kerney said Ramogida found the earthing sheets were being used by cyclists on the United States Postal Service team at past Tour de France races to help them recover more quickly from competitions.
Then there's the machine Kerney attaches to his adrenal glands before games. He changes the settings on the electrical stimulation machines trainers give players to get blood flowing in injured muscles, then puts a black sleeve on his neck to zap himself into a frenzy before kickoff.
After games, Kerney lowers the settings so ``I can bring my adrenal glands back down'' and sleep.
``It's well-known that when you have adrenaline flowing through the blood you are going to be able to do things physically that you are not going to be capable of otherwise,'' he said. ``It certainly allows me to do things physically where I shake my head and say to myself, 'There's no way a calm version of myself would be able to do that.'''
Such as play through a torn labrum. Kerney said he knew he tore the cartilage in his shoulder in a playoff game last January. While running after Washington Redskins quarterback Todd Collins, Kerney stuck out his arm like a crowbar. Collins ran into it in a full-speed collision that awkwardly twisted Kerney's arm.
Kerney made seven tackles and hit Collins four times that day. He played the following weekend at Green Bay in the divisional playoffs essentially with one arm and had surgery a few weeks later.
``My dad was asking me the other day, 'What are you going to do with all this stuff when you are done playing?''' Kerney said.
He said he will still use some of it after hiking or playing tennis.
``Some of it I will hand down to some young buck,'' he said, laughing.
 

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