Brock Lesnar: An Expert Weighs In On His Disease

Brock Lesnar: An Expert Weighs In On His DiseaseCan Brock Lesnar ever be the same again?

Brock Lesnar was forced to pull out of his scheduled fight with Junior dos Santos due to a flair up of his diverticulitis. Lesnar missed more than a year because of the disease before returning to defeat Shane Carwin at UFC 116. This is the second time Lesnar will be missing significant time while he deals with diverticulitis, and it is an issue the former heavyweight champ will be dealing with for the rest of his career and life. Naturally, this raises a lot of questions.

Will Brock Lesnar ever be a consistent pro-fighter again in the sense that he can be counted on to make it through camp and anchor a PPV? Or will the diverticulitis permanently impede his career, and as a result, his steady progress as a mixed martial artist?

Doctor Dan C. Cohen, MD is board certified in internal medicine and is completing his training in gastroenterology at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, TX. After hearing the general details of Lesnar’s situation, he provided a relatively positive outlook for the fighter’s future.

“Diverticulitis presents as an acute, or sudden, attack and is marked by severe abdominal pain and fever, often accompanied by nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea,” said Cohen. “Approximately one third of patients will have recurrent attacks and will eventually require surgery. Between attacks, which can be anywhere from months to years, people generally have no symptoms, but 30 to 40 % of patients will have episodic cramping and pain. In rare cases however, patient’s can have persistent abdominal cramping after attacks of diverticulitis. This is termed “smoldering diverticulitis”. It can be difficult to distinguish smoldering diverticulitis from the much more common condition of irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, both of which can cause chronic gastrointestinal symptoms. So, to answer your question, it is certainly possible that this can continue to be a problem for him in subsequent training camps, but with the right diagnosis and the right treatment, his gastrointestinal issues can be managed and they shouldn’t prevent him from training properly in the future.”

This falls in line with Lesnar’s comments about “managing” his condition poorly during camp. It is not unreasonable to think there would be a learning curve for a professional athlete trying to deal with such a serious condition. And there are many angles for Lesnar to consider according to Cohen.

Cohen pointed out that even worst case scenarios should not derail Lesnar’s future if he gets proper treatment.

“ I am not aware of his exact circumstances, but If he truly has recurrent diverticulitis or the rarer smoldering diverticulitis I would recommend Exploring surgery as an option,” Cohen said. “I say this for two reasons. First, this is obviously having a great impact on his career so obtaining a definitive cure is paramount. But secondly, a severe flare of diverticulitis can lead to serious complications and even death. Recurrent diverticulitis is generally managed with surgery. Being young and in shape makes his chances of doing well in surgery and having a smooth recovery high. With regards to training and fighting, if he is not having an acute attack flare, there is really no risk for him to continue to train and fight. In fact, exercise has been shown in some studies to reduce the chances of acute attacks.”

Of course, Lesnar needs to do more than just exercise. He needs to be able to train like an elite professional athlete. I was skeptical about Lesnar’s chances, but his statements, in conjunction with Dr. Cohen’s opinion, changed my mind.

If Brock heals up and Shane Carwin and heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez bounce back, we could finally see the fireworks we have been expecting from the heavyweight division in the very near future. There are a lot of “ifs” in there, but hearing from an expert that Lesnar’s diverticulitis should be a manageable condition is a good reason for optimism.

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