On September 30th the Upledger Foundation, in conjunction with the Ricky Williams Foundation, completed the 2015 Football Players Concussion Intensive Therapy Program and Research Study.
This year's program treated seven former professional football players, two of whom were repeats from the 2014 study. The programs have consisted of extensive baseline intake testing, five consecutive days of twice daily CranioSacral Therapy, Visceral Manipulation and Neural Manipulation Therapy. At week's end, a re-taking of the same tests concluded the program.
Besides positive documented quantitative changes shown in the tests, all of the former players reported experiencing significant life-changing value, benefits and insight through receiving treatment, and participating in the dialogues of shared experiences.
The personal testimonies below reflect some of what the participants experienced, and their desire to inform those institutions and organizations who are actively seeking to study the issues, and help improve the quality of life OF ANYONE suffering from brain injury, post traumatic stress, and other accumulated traumas.
For more information about how to support, or join our study, opportunities to partner with the Dr. John E Upledger Foundation / Ricky Williams programs, and access to the clinical data compiled thus far, please contact us at:
(772) 919 5440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Baltimore / Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks
1979 - 1992 :
My experience at the Upledger Clinic in West Palm Beach was one of the most positive transformative experiences I've ever encountered. In my opinion, Craniosacral Therapy is a game changer. When I learned the practice has been around for over 35 years and yet is not a common practice I was astonished!
After 3 days of going through the process I realized how unique the techniques and therapy are because the treatments were so gentle yet I'd get up from the table feeling profoundly better. From the top of my head to the tips of my toes good changes within my body occurred again and again. My body and mind were supported to return to their optimal state.
Amazingly, the therapist were able to touch areas of my body and accurately asses what was happening there and identify old injuries in other, seemingly not connected areas of my body. And they were spot on!
Trying to explain how Craniosacral Therapy works to someone who has not experienced it is hard to put into words for me. But it's definitely something I would recommend to everyone that's ever played football and had an injury. I think it's likely that getting this type of treatment as soon as possible when injured would help a lot!
1980 - 1986 :
My experience with Craniosacral Therapy was life changing. The release of blockages to the craniosacral system that were caused by numerous injuries (including many hard head hits and 10 Arthroscopic knee surgeries followed by
Bi Lateral knee replacements) brought vivid memories of forgotten injuries which caused powerful emotional releases followed by a feeling of calm and balance which remains with me 2 weeks later. My sleep is now deep and sound.
My elbow which was surgically repaired causing the inability to do certain tasks such as doing up the top button on my shirt has gained significant range of motion. I believe strongly in this therapy as a part of every personâ€™s well-being and know that the balance it brings would be vital to every ball playersâ€™ productivity. I feel that it would also speed up the healing process from all injuries and that is worth a lot of money to any team!
Since returning I have recommended it to my father who suffers from post Shingle Neuralgia, a friend with Bells Palsy, my wife and daughter - both with back and neck injuries, and a colleague with spinal damage from a severe car crash.
I will continue to preach its benefits to any and all people that I come in contact with.
I sincerely hope that this will become standard treatment for all professional athletes.
1986 - 1992 :
The early years of life after football were in many respects much more difficult than playing the game itself. I had thought I'd left the physical injuries behind when I retired. I was not prepared in any way to deal with the physical pain, let alone the inexplicable emotional pain and turmoil of buried hurt.
By 1999 I was in difficult straits. I'd lost most of the feeling in my right leg due to a spinal fracture incurred in 1988. I was severely depressed without knowing why, and I was having major issues with short term memory loss. I had no health insurance.
I was fortunate enough to live in an area with an abundance of natural health practitioners. My work at the time was carpentry, and I was able to barter skills, building bookshelves in trade for help with my pain. I received acupuncture, massage, and acupressure, which all began to help me feel better. I got into yoga and learned how to work with my body differently. My physical body improved along with my ability to remember what happened yesterday. I began to study and eventually became a practicing healthcare professional myself.
Two years ago I was introduced to the Upledger Institute through the Ricky Williams Concussion Pilot, and was given the opportunity to experience a week of intensive treatment at the clinic in Florida. The low grade pain in my back and leg eased more. Some lingering emotional issues that I was still unaware of emerged and as they came to light and released I experienced a coinciding physical loosening of long held contraction. The week was impressionable enough for me to enroll in another craniosacral intensive a few months later. It was there that a skilled therapist got so deep into my gut that my psoas, which had for years been guarding the backside of the lumbar spinal fracture finally released, and the last remnants of what had been 26 years of chronic low back pain disappeared for good.
Along with the most impressive release of long held body pain was the more subtle work of mobilizing the fascia and sutures of my skull. There were some astonishing click and pops in my head, and an accompanying sensation of relief as old impacts were drawn out of structure and tissue that had been the leading edge of impact. As I have become more familiar with the Upledger craniosacral work I've learned they have a 35 year track record of extremely high success at minimizing dysfunction associated with traumatic brain injuries.
The more experience I have with Upledger Institute and their affiliated schools' body of work, the more valuable I find it. I now incorporate craniosacral therapy as part of my professional practice because it is so effective for a myriad of issues.
Based on my own personal experiences with craniosacral therapy, visceral manipulation and neuralmeningeal techniques, and in witnessing the profoundly positive results it has produced in other clients, I am absolutely certain that these modalities can be a highly appropriate and effective measure in assisting the physical, mental and emotional struggles commonly faced by those who are engaged in extreme stress professions, such as professional football or military service or emergency response duty.
As I look back to extreme pain and dysfunction I was in twenty some odd years ago, to the excellent state of health I now enjoy, I marvel that I was able to make that journey without drugs, without invasive surgeries and without undertaking crippling monetary expense.
It seems common sense to me that the future of effective medicine lies in combining and incorporating allopathic medicine with the best of hands on techniques, like the craniosacral work. I would think healthcare insurers would be extremely interested in the cost effectiveness of CST as a first step "go to" before radical invasive surgical procedures, when possible.
St. Louis Cardinals
1963 - 1969 :
My four day CranioSacral Intensive experience at the Upledger Institute demonstrated one major thing â€“ the power of Release; the release of pain, tension, and restricted movement caused by my football injuries. All seven of us, six former NFL players and one CFL player have been carrying around in our bodies and emotions the effects of these injuries. We all spoke about the negative effect our injuries have had on our loved ones. We were in pain and angry because we often said, during our group sessions, we did not know where our anger was coming from. We realized our being pissed off a lot was coming from the tension and pain caused by our football injuries, often not remembered. Everyone said during the five days, â€œwow, I had forgotten about that oneâ€.
The intensive released a major immobility in my damaged right shoulder and lower back, where I previously had two surgeries. What a relief, which produced a wonderful overall feeling of being â€œfreed upâ€, including the ability to freely move my right arm and shoulder for the first time in a long time.
I highly recommend CranioSacral Therapy to anyone who has played football, for sure, anyone who has played at the higher levels of the game. CranioSacral Therapy was a revelation, what a gift.
1987 - 1992 :
Going through the Upledger / Ricky Williams CranioSacral Intensive changed my life in a very dramatic and very positive way. I had been suffering from depression and body pain, and to deal with that I had been turning to alcohol in an attempt to find relief. I was trying to be strong and stoic, fitting in like a regular guy. I actually had reservation and resistance to participate in the program, but luckily my wife helped me see the value in going.
During the intensive, the therapists used persistent but gentle hand pressure at various contact points and areas on my body. Sometimes I questioned if anything was actually happening, but at the end of each session I felt noticeably better. By the end of the week I was a new man. The pain in my neck, shoulders and hips was gone! I felt a great sense of freedom, like I had shed old clothes that were too tight and no longer fit. On the last day when we underwent a repeat of the baseline testing I felt like I did noticeably better in all areas, especially in the balance tests.
Now, three weeks later, I'm still pain free. The urge to drink alcohol is gone. I feel younger and more energetic. My friends comment that I seem different in a positive way. I feel like I'm more conscious about my body and state of mind. I'm amazed that the effects of the treatments are lasting this long.
I'd recommend Upledger CranioSacral Therapy, and especially the intensive format, to anyone who is suffering from ANY kind of pain! For me, this experience of (w)holistic treatment has been a blessing from God.
New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers
1980 - 1981
I am one of the two returning players to undergo treatment at the Ricky Williams/Upledger Foundation NFL pilot study.
My NFL career was cut short in 1981 when I developed hydrocephalus (water on the brain) from concussions and underwent 3 emergency VP shunt brain surgeries in 8 months and was given last rites at age 23. During a 10 month period in 86 â€“ 87 I survived 5 additional emergency brain surgeries and several gran mal seizures, and underwent my 9th emergency shunt surgery in 1993.
Since 1981 I have struggled with major short-term memory issues, daily headaches, insomnia and anger management issues. The anger comes primarily from frustrations at not being able to accomplish what I used to do subconsciously. My condition had deteriorated to such an extent that I was on 4 different dementia medicines in 2010. When I arrived at the Upledger Clinic for the first protocol treatment in 2014, I had serious doubts about the effectiveness of what I perceived to be only a placebo effect. In addition I was two days into one of my many multiple day migraines Iâ€™ve had since my first surgery, and as was normal for me, had not had more than 3-4 hours sleep a night for the prior 6 days, including zero sleep the night before. During the second day of intensive cranio sacral therapy, Dr. Baral â€œreleasedâ€ something it, before I mentioned my headache had just disappeared. That night I slept 9 hours. Nearly double my average night sleep for the prior several years.
By the end of the week, all my pre-test neuro cognitive and motor skills tests showed improvement. After returning home to Sacramento I continued to receive cranio sacral therapy from a local therapist.
During this yearâ€™s 2015 session, I showed even more improvement, and with some baseline tests improving over 22%. In addition my overall mental state is much clearer, and my ability to focus and handle stressful situations has improved dramatically.
As a well known traumatic brain injury consultant with The Visger Group, we have now incorporated craniosacral therapy, visceral manipulation and neuro-menigeal therapy into the soon to be released, The Visger Group Game Plan for Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery as the most effective treatment I have undergone in 35 years of living with a traumatic brain injury.
Craniosacral therapy is literally a game changer for many of us TBI survivors, and I will forever be indebted to Ricky Williams, John Matthew Upledger and the amazing cadre of dedicated therapists who helped put my life back on track.
Short Choppy Steps,
Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins
1984 - 1993 :
When I accepted the invite from Ricky Williams' foundation, to participate in a craniosacral study, I had no idea what I was getting myself in to. Actually, I accepted, because I thought it would be a free week on a Florida beach, along with some type of massage therapy.
After of just a few days, my mood, my emotions and body had such a drastic change, it's really hard to put into words. My chronic pain was drastically reduced and my range of motion on 99% of my body parts increased significantly.
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San Francisco 49ers
After 10 intensive treatments of Craniosacral Therapy over the course of 5 days I feel largely different mentally and emotionally. Throughout the five days of treatment I became increasingly relaxed and more in touch with my inner thoughts and feelings. The multiple therapist that worked on me at a time encouraged deep relaxation and assisted me in meditation. It was unlike anything I've previously experienced!
I have recommended Craniosacral Therapy to family members and friends reluctant to treat chronic stress, depression, and anxiety with medications that may adversely affect their health as much or more than their ailment.
I think Craniosacral Therapy can be a revelation for former football players who've become accustomed to burying the pain of their injuries. CST allows players an opportunity to address physical issues they've long ignored both mentally and emotionally.