NFL Legend Joe Namath Says Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Healed His Damaged Brain

NFL Legend Joe Namath Says Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Healed His Damaged Brain

As an NFL Hall-of-Fame quarterback and Super Bowl MVP, Joe Namath had it all. His exceptional performance on the field and natural charisma turned him into a pop culture icon known as “Broadway Joe.”

But Joe didn’t emerge from his football career unscathed. He suffered at least five concussions—the “lights out, smelling salts” kind, Joe said on the June 24, 2019, Howard Stern radio show.

He didn’t really think much about it until the 2000s at his football camp when he saw how gridiron head injuries were affecting one of his former teammates. “I saw a teammate of mine deteriorating over a period of four years,” Joe says. “His mind, he was losing it, he’d forget things. It scared him.”

At the football camp the following year, the teammate was even worse. It was a wake-up call for Joe. “It dawned on me, I said I need to find out about myself. It behooves me, Joe, to find out about myself. And it behooves me to do it for my children.”

What a Brain Scan Revealed About Joe Namath’s Brain

Joe reached out to a hospital in Florida where he lives and underwent a brain imaging test called SPECT, which measures blood flow and brain activity. SPECT shows three things—areas of the brain with healthy activity, too much activity, or not enough activity. SPECT differs from MRI or CT scans, which show structural damage to the brain but do not reveal how the brain is functioning. In fact, in many people who have suffered a head injury, MRI and CT scans will appear normal even when there is functional damage to the brain. Because SPECT looks at brain function, it is the best tool to detect functional damage.

Joe’s SPECT scan revealed that all those concussions on the field had taken a toll on his brain. The brain scan showed evidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI), with low activity in some areas. “With that SPECT scan, they could see the cells on the left side of my head from the forehead back were not getting blood. They were darker than the rest of the other cells,” Joe says.

How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Helped Joe Namath’s Brain

As part of a treatment plan to rehabilitate his brain, Joe began doing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). HBOT is a noninvasive treatment that involves breathing 100% pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. With HBOT, your lungs can take in up to 3 times more oxygen than they do when breathing at normal air pressure. The increased oxygen is picked up via the bloodstream and transported to damaged tissues to facilitate the healing process. HBOT has been used to improve many issues, including TBI, PTSD, memory loss, anxiety and depression, attention problems, and other mental health issues.

After 40 sessions, Joe went back for a follow-up SPECT scan, which showed the dark areas of his brain with low blood flow had started to lighten up, a sign of improved blood flow. He continued with 40 more sessions and then a final 40 sessions. His follow-up brain scan after all 120 HBOT sessions stunned him. His brain “looked normal all over,” he says.

Since then, Joe has made it his mission to spread the word about the benefits of SPECT brain imaging and hyperbaric oxygen therapy through the Joe Namath Neurological Research Center at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida. “This could help millions,” he says, such as “the veterans alone that get concussions, the children that fall off bicycles and hit their head.”

Although Joe Namath was not treated at Amen Clinics, we have used brain SPECT imaging and hyperbaric oxygen therapy to help treat numerous former NFL players and thousands of other people with TBI. In fact, 40 percent of our patients have had TBIs, including mild ones where you don’t pass out. Many of our patients who have undergone HBOT have experienced a dramatic improvement in cerebral blood flow. Benefits they have reported include improved memory, moods, cognition, and sleep, as well as reduced depression, irritability, and headaches.

If you would like more information on brain SPECT scans or HBOT, call 888-288-9834 or make an appointment online.


  1. Hi. How much is an initial consult and spect study? I you.

    Comment by Caroline — July 29, 2019 @ 3:36 AM

  2. Great article.So many older football players and boxers have had this. I was a premature baby born in 1954 weighing 2 lbs 6oz. Isolates were used. My ability to remembered stuff is hard.Schooling I had to study alot.Could I be having issues like this? I Had MRI and ct because of bells pasley and ruling out stroke .

    Comment by Bev — July 29, 2019 @ 5:34 AM

  3. I live in the Dallas, TX area and wondering where, in my area, a spect brain scan be done? My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s shortly after having major back surgery. She was under anesthesia for 10 hours and was never the same. She also could not wake from the anesthesia for 2 days. I am wondering if this could be something other than Alzheimer’s?

    Comment by Sherry Pierce-DeLuna — July 29, 2019 @ 6:17 AM

  4. Joe was one of my heroes growing up…I am a lifelong Alabama fan. I have had at least 5 major concussions and am also curious about cost of initial SPECT exam and each hyperbaric oxygen treatment. I live in Atlanta area. Thanks.

    Comment by Gary Johnstone — July 29, 2019 @ 6:38 AM

  5. HBOT saved my life… I’ve done over 60 treatments. I’ve had two strokes and was paralyzed… it gave my mobility back and my speech! I can’t praise it enough.

    Comment by Vic Johnson — July 29, 2019 @ 7:12 AM

  6. This is great and I believe it works, the problem is normal people can’t afford it. There are only a few covered diagnoses that support HBO and SPECT scans. Joe Namath and other superstars don’t have to worry about that. I have PTSD, have had major depression, generalized anxiety even had ECT treatments for a major depressive order. Spect and HBO aren’t an option.

    Comment by Vicki — July 29, 2019 @ 7:13 AM

  7. What is the point of printing comments about how much the SPECT exams cost if you aren’t going to answer them? I would love to pursue Dr. Amen’s program for my grandson, but unless I know what it’s going to cost going in, I can’t.

    Comment by Nocalgal — July 29, 2019 @ 12:50 PM

  8. Nocalgal they have a website which is full of information including phone numbers…

    Comment by Denise Nix — July 29, 2019 @ 1:35 PM

  9. I was a premature baby weighting in at 3lbs and lost weight the first two weeks in the hospital, in the 50s they used all kinds of drugs on premi’s. I’m now 66 and had many learning issues when I was in school. My question after all these years, is it possible I benefit from hyperbaric oxygen treatment? If what are the costs of the treatment

    Comment by Phil Santomassi — July 30, 2019 @ 2:16 AM

  10. I live in Canada and I can appreciate your comment,however if you mention a company who has pages of Intel, why not post the URL along with the company name ? It would have been helpful. I have an inoperable Grade 2 Astrocytoma on the right side just above my ear.

    Thank you,
    LORI schaefer

    Comment by Lori — July 30, 2019 @ 3:54 AM

  11. Norcalgal- Try calling them.

    Comment by Becky — July 30, 2019 @ 7:07 AM

  12. How much was each session of HBOT???

    Comment by Shar — July 30, 2019 @ 11:45 AM

  13. Hello and good afternoon. Our son Zachary, sustained a TBI secondary to drug overdose some 12 years ago. A friend suggested we contact your facility in hopes of identifying a treatment other than the antipsychotics the Psychiatric community recommend. The medication does not appear to assist his thinking and he does not like the side effects. He has memory difficulty, concentration and focus. He has some delusional thoughts and though functional, cannot manage o n his won. He is on SSI. Please let me know if you have a facility or treatment options near us. We live in Minnesota, just south of Duluth. Thank you and have a wonderful day! John and Pam Latson

    Comment by John latson — July 30, 2019 @ 12:18 PM

  14. Hello John, thank you for reaching out and sharing with us. We will have a Care Coordinator reach out to you directly via email. We look forward to speaking with you!

    Comment by Amen Clinics — July 30, 2019 @ 1:21 PM

  15. Hello Phil, thank you for reaching out. We’d be happy to contact you directly via email, we look forward to speaking with you!

    Comment by Amen Clinics — July 30, 2019 @ 1:22 PM

  16. I posted this a couple of days ago without a question so I’m going to ask and see if Amen Clinics responds.
    What about those of us without a medically covered diagnosis where insurance will cover it or those without insurance at all? We aren’t all superstars or wealthy and could also benefit from this.
    My previous comments -This is great and I believe it works, the problem is normal people can’t afford it. There are only a few covered diagnoses that support HBO and SPECT scans. Joe Namath and other superstars don’t have to worry about that. I have PTSD, have had major depression, generalized anxiety even had ECT treatments for a major depressive order. Spect and HBO aren’t an option.

    Comment by Vicki — July 31, 2019 @ 5:53 AM

  17. Hello Vicki, thank you for reaching out. Amen Clinics is an out of network provider. For more information about insurance, reimbursement and financing options, please contact our Care Coordinators at 888-288-9834 or by submitting the form on this page:

    Comment by Amen Clinics — July 31, 2019 @ 7:19 AM

  18. Hi, I live in San Antonio Tx,
    My Daughter is in need of a Brain Scan where can I take he in my area.

    Comment by Anna Maria Sanchez — July 31, 2019 @ 7:28 AM

  19. how much does HBOT cost?

    Comment by Cheryl Simmons — July 31, 2019 @ 2:27 PM

  20. For the most current pricing, please call our Care Center at 888-288-9834. Additional contact information can be found here:

    Comment by Amen Clinics — August 1, 2019 @ 7:06 AM

  21. Look up Chris Beat Cancer to read about many different natural therapies for healing, as well as hearing testimonials of those who have healed using those methods. Quite inspiring & informative. And yes, hyperbaric oxygen is one of the recommended treatments. Blessing to you on your healing journey!

    Comment by Toni — August 2, 2019 @ 1:38 PM

  22. What is the cost of treatments and how often you would be treated . Let me know and do you have to qualify to get the treatments. I have disabilities in hearing and heart and breathing problems.

    Comment by Ronald lowhorn — December 2, 2019 @ 10:50 AM

  23. Insurance should not be an issue when considering HBOT, do what works and figure out how to pay for it after

    Comment by Peter — April 13, 2020 @ 12:44 PM

  24. I trained online with the Amen Healthy Brain Training in 2021 and want to give a shout out to Kedar St John @ the Temple of Peace in Haiku, Maui, HI for 18 very effective Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments! It's so important that every TBI be treated otherwise, according to Dr Amen, your chances of dementia and depression are increased by 50%. I want to be coaching my great grandchildren's T-Ball team when I'm 80 and no plans to retire as a wellness coach.

    Comment by Maggie Rayne — March 14, 2023 @ 10:45 PM

  25. My wife Leahea Johnson has Alzheimer's and I've been interested in HBOT treatment for her for a while but didn't know where to start. We used recompression chambers (Hyperberic) in the Air Force to treat the Bends and other forms of decompression sickness. I read that you're an out of network provider and would like to know what other avenues of payment are available.

    Comment by Donald (Don) Johnson — November 20, 2023 @ 11:55 AM

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