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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: NFL star Mark Andrews’ “Most Creative Rehab Solution”

A severe ankle injury is nothing to play with. Especially when you are an NFL tight end. Such was the case for Ravens’ 3-time Pro-Bowler Mark Andrews, who found himself on the receiving end of a hip-drop tackle during a Cincinnati Bengals game on 11/16. After a diagnosis of a fractured tibia and ligament damage, Andrews underwent surgery on 11/12 and was not expected to return for the remainder of the season. 

To the surprise of the sports world, and especially of his fans, Andrews announced that he would be playing in the Ravens’ 1/20 playoff game against the Houston Texans. He attributed his miraculous recovery to hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).

HBOT has been shown to reduce pain, speed healing, and help reach full recovery from high impact sports injuries. Athletes use HBOT to expedite their healing so they can get back to their normal activities with less pain, swelling and bruising. HBOT assists with better movement and faster healing than the body can do on its own. Recovery is not only quicker, but also far less painful.

When an area of your body is injured it becomes hypoxic, which means there’s not enough oxygen available to the damaged area to promote homeostasis.The tissue lacks blood flow, decreasing oxygen and nutrients to the injured area. Hypoxic conditions can put additional stress on your body by reducing antioxidant defenses, which can cause severe inflammation. HBOT is used for healing from surgeries, tears, sprains, strains, breaks, head injuries, and wounds. Here’s how it works:

  • A hyperbaric chamber floods your body with 100% oxygen (as opposed to the 21% oxygen we typically breathe). This process drives the rich oxygen into your blood with up to 12,000% more oxygen into the blood and plasma throughout your body. 
  • Oxygen amps up cellular repair as it is forced into tissue that is bruised, broken or damaged. 
  •  Stem cells are increased in the damaged tissues, including the bone marrow. 
  • The growth of new blood vessels, angiogenesis, reduces swelling and inflammation, stimulates bone cell regeneration, accelerates the production of stem cells and enhances collagen production with ligament injuries.
  • HBOT down-regulates over 4,000 inflammatory genes by 30% and up-regulates over 4,000+ genes that trigger cells to reproduce at a super-fast speed and drastically reduce swelling.
  • HBOT increases blood flow to injured areas. As a result, nutrients, healing cells and hormones enter the injured area of your body much more quickly. 

Although these benefits of HBOT can expedite the healing process, the human body also needs adequate rest, nourishment and specific rehabilitation exercise to recover properly. 

An important factor to consider when looking at the rapid speed of Mark Andrews’ healing process is that he has the additional complication of being a type-1 diabetic. It is so severe, that he pricks his fingers to check his blood sugar approximately 30 times a game. People with diabetes heal more slowly or do not heal well because their bodies cannot produce or use insulin, a hormone which turns glucose or sugar into energy. However, when your body struggles to metabolize, sugar levels rise, affecting healing ability. This makes HBOT a particularly effective method for healing people who have diabetes, as long as they ensure their blood glucose levels are controlled tightly.

In a recent interview, Mark Andrews cited NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens, who used a hyperbaric chamber to treat a similar ankle injury in 2004, as inspiration for his decision to explore HBOT. It also helped that his girlfriend’s family had a hyperbaric chamber available for his use. In a recent interview, Andrews called his decision to pursue HBOT “the most creative rehab solution.”

This is not a technology exclusively available to celebrities and superstar athletes. At BluZone, you, too, can experience the healing effects of HBOT. Here is a link to our FAQs page. (By the way, Mark Andrews is 6’5” and 256 pounds, so you’ll be AMAZED by the room you’ll have as you relax and heal.) Schedule your first visit with us today! 











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