Last August, Eagles defensive tackle Mike Patterson suffered a seizure during practice. The diagnosis seemed ominous; he had a congenital tangle of blood vessels in his brain, which could be eradicated only by surgery.
But Patterson returned and started 15 games, with the condition controlled by medication. Then, in January, he underwent a six-hour procedure that cured the problem.
He plans to return for training camp and play in 2012. “I just want to go out there and show people that no matter what you go through, you still need to stand up and continue to fight,” Patterson told Jonathan Tamari of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I love football, so I just want to continue to play.”
He’s not expected to be ready to return for offseason practices. And he’s not worried about injuring the area of his head where bone was temporarily removed to allow the malformation to be fixed. “You break bones in this game all the time, they’ll heal back eventually,” Patterson said. “I don’t think that it was a question in my mind [that] if I’m hit in that area again, that something is going to happen.”
A first-round pick in 2005, Patterson has spent all seven seasons of his career with the Eagles. Here’s hoping that he can play another seven seasons.