Enbrel (Etanercept) for CRPS – Professional Footballer, Nazair Jones, and his CRPS Story

Feature Image of Nazair Jones, Professional Footballer, sourced from:


Dear Pain Matters readers,

Here is a patient story that may inspire, empower and offer hope.

This story is about a footballer named Nazair Jones who developed CRPS at only 15.  Amongst many treatments, Nazair received regular injections of Enbrel (Etanercept) and physiotherapy.  Details follow:

As a teenager, Nazair Jones always enjoyed playing football and basketball.  Unfortunately, his passion for competitive sports led to a number of injuries including torn anterior cruciate ligaments, shoulder surgeries and broken limbs.

On 5 November 2011, Nazair Jones (then 15) woke up to a body inexplicably paralyzed from his waist down.  He could not get out of bed to go to the bathroom.  His body was frozen in agony and he could not move his legs due to excruciating pain.

Quoting Nazair,

‘On a scale of 1 to 10, the pain was a 12.’

Terrified, he yelled to his mom for help.

In Nazair’s words,

 ‘It’s hard to explain…It was a shock…In my head, I’m saying ‘Walk.  Walk!  Why aren’t you walking?’  It was scary.’

Nazair’s mom called an ambulance to take him to Emergency.  He was discharged shortly after receiving an injection for pain.

Sadly, Nazair’s pain came back with a vengeance.  He was given injections including an epidural for pain.  Despite ultrasounds of his legs as well as nerve and blood tests, no one knew why Nazair had severe pain or why he could not walk.

Nazair’s ankle was extremely swollen.  The swelling would switch from one ankle to the other the following morning.  His swollen leg would also sweat profusely even while lying down.

In Nazair’s words,

‘They didn’t know what was wrong with me.  That was the worst part.’

Nazair was finally diagnosed with CRPS in December 2011.  He required a cane, a walker and ultimately a wheelchair for mobility. Doctors were unsure if he’d ever walk again, let alone play football again.

Despite his pain including allodynia* and mobility issues, Nazair never forgot his dream of becoming a professional footballer.

Motivated by his dream, Nazair started daily physiotherapy including walking exercises in the pool and mirror therapy.  Despite pain medication including ibuprofen, he suffered excruciating pain.  It would take Nazair an entire 30 to 60 minutes just to walk around the hospital floor.

Quoting Nazair,

It sounds easy to take a lap, but it was, by far, the worst pain.  You’re trying to get your body to do something—you want it to do it—but it’s just not doing it. You’re forcing yourself to move, and it just hurts. I can’t even explain the hurt. It just hurts … with all of that swelling, that was the most painful part …’

In 2013, Nazair started receiving weekly Enbrel (Etanercept) injections to manage the swelling in his ankles.

The good news is that Nazair was finally able to walk on his own again in May.  Two months later in July, he started playing sport again.

In his words,

‘… I just know I’ve been able to be myself with no pain.(Adelson, 2016; Adelson, 2017; Dunne, 2017; Supportive Care Matters, 2018).


Wishing all pain patients inspiration, hope and empowerment

Sabina Walker

Masters Appl. Science (Neuroscience)

Blogger, Pain Matters (in WordPress)



Author of soon-to-be published book called Pain Matters 




* Allodyniis pain caused by a stimulus that is usually not painful.


(1) Adelson, Andrea. UNC DL Nazair Jones was nearly paralyzed five years ago. ESPN (28 Sept 2016).


(2) Adelson, Eric. NFL draft prospect Nazair Jones on his rare disease: ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, the pain was a 12.’ Yahoo Sports (7 April 2017).


(3) Dunne, Tyler. Unable to Walk at 16, UNC Lineman Naz Jones Is About to Get Drafted into the NFL. Bleacher Report (6 April 2017).


(4) Supportive Care Matters. Nazair Jones Goes from Chronic Disease to NFL Hopeful (2018).

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