Bonnie Bernstein’s Experience with Thrombosis

By Anusha Tembe, Divya Joshi, Prasad Shetye, The GTF Group

Introduction

We are volunteers for Georgia Thrombosis Forum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading awareness of thrombosis. At the tenth anniversary of NATF in 2016, some of our members met Ms. Bernstein, who had suffered from some serious thrombotic episodes. She was very interested in our cause and we decided to learn more about her experience with thrombosis.

Thrombosis is a condition where blood clots form inside the blood vessels. The clots can block the blood flow and cause permanent damage to the organ, or may break off and cause a serious condition called embolism.

There are two main types of thrombosis, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolisms. Deep vein thrombosis, also known as DVT, is a critical condition that is caused by blood clots in the leg area. If not treated that blood clot can reach brain and cause stroke. The blood clot can reach the lungs. This is known as a pulmonary embolism, or PE.

Bonnie Bernstein, the initial years

Ms. Bernstein was born in Brooklyn, NY to a Jewish family and raised in Howell, NJ. She was a very bright student and graduated as the salutatorian of her high school.

Ms. Bernstein graduated from the University of Maryland at the top of her class and went on to pursue her passion of journalism. She started off working at a small local radio station, WXJN-FM in Lewes, Delaware. She then moved to TV at WMST-TV, aired in Salisbury, Maryland. After one year, Ms. Bernstein became Reno, Nevada’s first-ever female weekday sports anchor at NBC. She then went on to join ESPN, and covered many super bowls throughout her career.

Bonnie Bernstein was athletically gifted from a young age. During her year in college she received many awards such as the Thomas M. Fields award for her excellence in gymnastics. She continued to stay active throughout her career due to her demanding job, and yet, she found time to attend the gym 2-3 times a week.

She was set with the task of covering Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls during their peak run between 1996 and 1998. In addition, she also served as the correspondent on NFL super bowl countdown and even College Gameday. She also filed reports for SportsCenter during post-season Major League Baseball.

Three years later she moved on to join CBS, as the main sideline reporter for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships and lead reporter for The NFL Today. She further advanced to sideline reporting for the NFL on CBS. Bernstein’s high points in her career were when she covered Super Bowls XXXV and XXXVIII for CBS. During Super Bowl XXXVIII, she hit a huge milestone as she became the first correspondent ever to cover the Super Bowl for both network television and network radio, filing reports for CBS Sports and Westwood One Radio.

On October 6, 2006, Bonnie Bernstein complained of excruciating leg pain while covering the Red River Rivalry. Five days later doctor’s discovered a pulmonary embolism (blood clot that occurs in the lungs) which was life threatening. They later discovered that this clot originally formed in her left leg as a form of deep vein thrombosis. She was treated and recovered, and was back to work only after several weeks.

During the September of 2009, Ms. Bernstein was awarded the position of co-host and SportsCenter anchor for The Michael Kay Show in New York. She spent four years, hosting many championships, and sport events.

In the April of 2013, Ms. Bernstein was named vice president of Content and Brand Development for Campus Insiders. This is her current job as of January 2018.

The condition

Ms. Bernstein was covering the 2006 Oklahoma-Texas football game, and when the game had finished, she had to get to her car for her next flight. As she was running to her car, she experienced severe shortness of breath, and her leg was aching. On the flight back to New York, her leg started to hurt even more and it started to swell up. The emergency physician found a clot in her left leg. Some parts of the massive clot had already broken off and had already started moving to her lungs, a condition called Pulmonary Embolism (PE).

Management of the condition

Ms. Bernstein was quickly treated with anticoagulants.

Ms. Bernstein’s life, post PE

Ms. Bernstein made her mission in life to inform people about this deadly but preventable condition that kills many people. She became a National Spokesperson for the Coalition to Prevent DVT. She was committed to save precious lives.

GTF members meet Ms. Bernstein in person!

On March 10, 2016, North American Thrombosis forum (NATF, www.natfonline.org), one of the premier non-profit organizations involved in increasing awareness of thrombosis in the World, celebrated 10th anniversary in Boston.

GTF, being an affiliate of NATF, represented itself by have several of its members attend the event. The lucky young members of GTF who attended this event were Avanti Upad, Manoj Niverthi, Rajath Bappanad, Varun Rangnekar, along with Dr. Atul Laddu and Jayashree Laddu.

GTF members research in thrombosis in the Jewish population

A few young members of GTF (Prasad Shetye, Sanket Gavankar, Sharan Krishnappan, Tej Shidhate and Veeraj Rangnekar) conducted research in thrombosis in Jewish community and published their findings in the Atlanta Jewish Times (Title of the article, “Spreading Awareness of Blood Clots. Some segments of the Jewish population prove to be more vulnerable to blood clots”)

Here is the link to the article: http://atlantajewishtimes.timesofisrael.com/spreading-awareness-of-blood-clots/

Though everyone is susceptible to thrombosis, some sectors of the Jewish population appear to be at a higher risk of DVT, or PE. The two sectors of the Jewish population who are susceptible are the Ashkenazi, and the Mizrachi Jews. The Ashkenazi Jews often carry factor XI deficiency. This deficiency often means that one is susceptible to severe bleeding related to injuries. While the Mizrachi Jews are often associated with Factor VII deficiency.

Conclusion and our message to the community

  • Even celebrities are not exempt form thrombosis, nor are athletes.
  • Being active can dramatically lower chances of obtaining blood clots.
  • It is important to not stay stationary for long periods of time.
  • Whether it is on an airplane or a car ride, it is essential to stay moving and keep your blood moving to avoid thrombotic episodes

References:

1.1. http://bonniebernstein.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Vital-Care-Magazine-ArticleSpring-09.pdf

1.2. http://bonniebernstein.com/contact/

1.3. http://bonniebernstein.com/bio/

About the Authors:

Anusha Tembe just started 9th grade at the prestigious International Baccalaureate (IB) program at the Campbell High School in Marietta, GA, a Magnet School. She has been with GTF for 2 years. Her principal wrote the following about Anusha, “….it was fascinating to read about your interest and work in thrombosis—that is a unique path for a student your age”, Anusha wants to pursue a career in STEM.

Divya Joshi is a 10th grader at Alpharetta High School. She has been with GTF for 1 year and wants to be a physician.

Prasad Shetye is a 9th grader at Northview High School. He has been with GTF for 18 months and wants to be a dentist.

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. It is nice to learn about the remarkable interest these youngsters are taking in spreading awareness about THROMBOSIS, which is taking a heavy toll of active population. It is admirable that these young students are taking serious interest in a subject currently outside their immediate academic curriculum . Hope their efforts will openup further awareness in Society for adopting preventive measures. Wish them further success.

  2. Great writing Anusha, Divya, and Prasad: It is a very admirable thing for you to study the lives of people who suffered from and thrombosis, a very deadly condition, and find out messages to the public. Indeed a very noble cause. Keep up the efforts!

    Atul and Jayashree Laddu

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