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On Wednesday, Patterson dropped to the ground between drills during a morning practice, and the player began violently shaking. He was immediately tended to by Burkholder and his staff, with assistance from rookie Danny Watkins, a trained firefighter, and taken by ambulance to Lehigh Valley Hospital.
"It just so happened at football practice," Burkholder said. "It could've happened anywhere."
AVMs are malformations or tangles of arteries and veins that alter blood flow. The cause isn't known, but they are usually present at birth. They can form anywhere, but are more common in the brain or spinal cord.
About 300,000 Americans are thought to be affected by AVMs of the brain or spinal cord. Most people don't experience any symptoms, and aren't aware of the malformation until symptoms arise, usually in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Common symptoms are headaches and seizures. The biggest risk is bleeding.
Treatments include medications, surgery or radiation and vary depending on the size and location.
Players around the NFL expressed their concern for Patterson on Twitter.
"Prayers go out 2 Mike Patterson. Great college teammate n even better person!" wrote Green Bay Packers All-Pro linebacker Clay Matthews, who played with Patterson at Southern California.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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