Phoenix doctors help skier, mountain biker Joe Ringling with serious concussion symptoms

Posted at 5:48 AM, Feb 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-07 11:40:29-05

Before the age of 20, Joe Ringling was a sponsored skier and mountain biker.

"Why wouldn't you follow a passion if you have it?" Ringling asked.

But by 20 years old, Ringling had also suffered several concussions.

Ringling says he would get knocked out but then get back on his skis or his mountain bike. Two years ago, his career came to an end with a terrifying mountain bike crash.

“I hit my head 15 too many times,” said Ringling.

He says the repeated concussions brought long-term symptoms like severe headaches, memory loss and depression.

"My worst concussion was freshman year of high school," said Ringling. "I don't remember three months on either side."

Ringling says doctors in Montana couldn't figure out what was wrong so he moved to the Phoenix area where he sought treatment at the Concussion and Brain Injury Center at Barrow Neurological Institute at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center -- the first of its kind in the nation.

Ringling is now working with neurologist Dr. Glynnis Zieman to put his life back together. He is currently on preventative medicine to help break the cycle of pain for his headaches.

Ringling says his health is improving but he still suffers from the effects of his concussions, including mood swings and memory lapses.

"What we can take away from Joe's case is that no sport is concussion-proof," said Dr. Zieman.

Dr. Zieman says there's a big gap in concussion education for youth and adults participating in sports recreationally.

"If you are traveling faster than you run -- you should be wearing a helmet," said Dr. Zieman.

Ringling gave up his daredevil career and has now picked up golf. Currently, he is working in a Chandler restaurant and plans to return to college soon.