Baltimore Ravens rookie linebacker Sergio Kindle(notes) was hospitalized last Thursday after falling down two flights of stairs. The second-round pick from Texas suffered a fractured skull and will miss all of training camp as he recovers.
It had been explained by Ravens coach John Harbaugh that Kindle took a wrong turn while waking up in the middle of the night at a friend's house. Kindle's old college coach provided a more specific explanation recently.
[Video: Side effects from NFL head injuries]
University of Texas coach Mack Brown blamed the fall on narcolepsy, the condition which affects the brain's ability to regulate sleep cycles. There were rumors before the draft that Kindle had the condition (apparently he fell asleep during team meetings at Texas), but when asked about them after taking Kindle in the second round, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and director of player personnel Eric DeCosta looked at each other and laughed. "If it was a concern, we probably wouldn't have picked him," DeCosta eventually replied.
Because you probably have the same misconceptions about narcolepsy as we did (thank you very much, "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo"), here's a brief summary of the disorder. (From the National Institute for Neurological Disorders).
Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder caused by the brain's inability to regulate sleep-wake cycles normally. At various times throughout the day, people with narcolepsy experience fleeting urges to sleep. If the urge becomes overwhelming, patients fall asleep for periods lasting from a few seconds to several minutes. In rare cases, some people may remain asleep for an hour or longer.
Contrary to common beliefs, people with narcolepsy do not spend a substantially greater proportion of their time asleep during a 24-hour period than do normal sleepers. In addition to daytime drowsiness and involuntary sleep episodes, most patients also experience frequent awakenings during nighttime sleep.
Harbaugh said the main concern is Kindle's health and that the Ravens are in no hurry to rush the rookie back from a head injury.
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