The Seahawks quarterback’s claims that Reliant Recovery Water helped prevent a concussion could be dangerous, says expert.
This column is fueled by the nano-bubbles in my bottle of Reliant Recovery Water — Essence of Fresh Peach flavor, if you must know — that I purchased today at the Whole Foods near the office.
I don’t feel any different yet, but I expect that my recovery from the mental and physical rigors of rumination and composition will be much quicker than usual.
Lots of wisecracks these last two days after Russell Wilson’s comments, first in Rolling Stone magazine, then on Twitter, that consuming mass quantities of Recovery Water — made by a company in which he happens to be an investor — helped keep him from a concussion in the NFC title game.
As a marketing ploy, Wilson’s remarks are working beautifully. A product I had never heard of before Wednesday is now getting national (and probably worldwide) publicity. And the clerk at Whole Foods told me the Recovery Water was selling briskly Thursday.
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But in the aftermath of his claims, Wilson is getting a strong backlash. It’s simply not wise to trivialize something as serious as head injuries — particularly at a time of heightened consciousness of the devastating effects they have had on generations of Wilson’s NFL brethren.
I’m willing to give Wilson the benefit of the doubt that he sincerely believes what he said. He’s always been a man of strong convictions — religious and otherwise.
On Thursday, though, a collective finger-wag came Wilson’s way from the medical community.
Wilson told Rolling Stone that the Recovery Water worked wonders after he took a vicious hit in the second quarter of the Jan. 18 playoff game from Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews. Though apparently dazed, Wilson returned for the Seahawks’ next offensive series and went on to engineer Seattle’s stunning comeback from a 19-7 fourth-quarter deficit to win in overtime.
“I banged my head during the Packers game in the playoffs, and the next day I was fine,’’ Wilson told Rolling Stone. “It was the water.”
When Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, interjected that “we’re not saying we have real medical proof,” Wilson shook his head, according to the article.
“I know it works. Soon you’re going to be able to order it straight from Amazon.”
When excerpts from that Rolling Stone article — also claiming that one of Wilson’s teammates had a knee injury “healed miraculously” by the water — hit the internet Wednesday, Wilson doubled down by tweeting the following:
“I believe @Recovery_Water helped prevent me from getting a concussion based on a bad hit!”
Meeting the media Thursday, Wilson naturally was asked about his comments. He clarified that he didn’t have a concussion, adding that his remarks had been “perceived wrong.”
He added, “I was saying that I had been drinking the water for about a month, month and a half … five to seven times a day, and maybe this stuff is helping me out. It’s one of those things that I truly do believe it helps with recovery.”
When I asked Wilson to clarify the relationship between Recovery Water and potential head injuries, he said, “I didn’t have any head injuries, but I was trying to say that I think it helped prevent it. I think your brain consists of like 75 to 80 percent water, so I think that just being hydrated and drinking the Recovery Water really does help.”
It may help with recovery from exercise — my physical therapist swears that Recovery Water did for him — but to say that it helped prevent a head injury is treading in dangerous territory.
I called Christopher Nowinski, executive director of the Sports Legacy Institute, to get his take. The Boston-based SLI, which Nowinski founded in 2007 with Dr. Robert Cantu, a concussion expert, states as its mission “to advance the study, treatment and prevention of the effects of brain trauma in athletes and other at-risk groups.”
Nowinski naturally had read Wilson’s comments and said he was “very disappointed. It’s an irresponsible statement, especially coming from someone that’s a leader in sports and a role model to young football players.”
Nowinski noted that there’s an ongoing struggle to convince young athletes to take concussion symptoms seriously, and to realize they should back off until cleared by a doctor even for brief episode of symptoms.
He fears that Wilson’s comments may lead young players who have been drinking Recovery Water and receive a blow to the head to think they are not concussed if they wake up without a headache or other symptoms.
“To imply that if you drink a bottle of water and if you don’t have symptoms, you don’t have a concussion is wrong and can be confusing to young athletes,’’ Nowinski said.
A call to Reliant, a Tacoma-based company, was not returned. The company’s website has no mention of concussion recovery or prevention among its listed benefits. It touts that Recovery Water is “infused with charged nano-structures, which are proven safe to consume and highly effective in promoting healthy cells.” It adds that the product “enables cells to process at a higher level. Stronger cellular function will reduce physical stress, accelerate recovery, and strengthen your body’s core activities.”
That’s for the consumer to decide. But saying this stuff can help prevent a head injury is an entirely different ballgame.
“I hope, honestly, Russell Wilson is just confused, and doesn’t understand this is an irresponsible course of action,’’ Nowinski said. “But someone needs to enlighten him. He needs to retract these claims.”
That’s no laughing matter.