A popular American college football quarterback has spoken about how his life on and off the field has been affected by the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata, which leads to sudden, patchy hair loss.
Photos of Josh Dobbs, a senior for the Tennessee Volunteers, a 125-year-old team based at the city’s University, have been circulated on social media, where the player's unusually high hairline has been turned into a variety of memes. Many seem to have mistaken it for a receding hairline but Dobbs has clarified that this is not a case of Male Pattern Baldness.
Dobbs first started losing hair to the widespread condition when he was around 10; as is commonly the case with Alopecia Areata, the first clue that something was a amiss was a small bald spot on his scalp. According to an article on the sportsonearth.com website, the quarterback was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata and given medication which could help ease the inflammation. Eventually, his hair grew back although given the sportsman has also lost his eyebrows and eyelashes, it appears he may have developed Alopecia Totalis which can affect the whole head, rather than just areas of the scalp.
His teenage years, however, were blighted by bald spots that would come and go from his scalp, including along his hairline. Then his eyebrows started to disappear. In the end, Dobbs shaved off all of his hair and became something of a talking point among fans and players. Some of comments about his looks have been negative, something Dobbs puts down to ignorance.
"It's annoying, obviously," Dobbs tells sportsonearth.com. "You see it and you get annoyed by it, upset by it, but you don't let it affect you. That's what they want to do. They're trying to make you feel less about yourself and give themselves some kind of ego boost and make themselves feel better. They're ignorant."
The article goes on to explain how Dobbs is currently having treatment to try and regrow his eyebrows and is enjoying moderate success on that front.
Dobbs is not the only American sportsman with an Alopecia-related condition; NBA star Charlie Villanueva, who played for the Dallas Mavericks power forward, has Alopecia Universalis, the most extreme form of the condition in which all of the hair on the head, face and body is lost. His hair loss began around the age of 10, too, with total baldness following by the time he was 12. The basketball star once said that “it was hard because kids don’t understand what you’re going through. They would make fun of me, so I would get frustrated, but I didn’t want to show it.”
Villanueva has since become something of a figurehead for Alopecia Areata and it related conditions; he is an ambassador for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation in America, and has even been busy making a movie about his experiences of living with the condition. For his part, Josh Dobbs has also helped spread awareness in a college football video, and he also allowed TV cameras to follow him when he recently met a young fan with Alopecia Areata.
In the UK there are a number of sports stars who are affected by Alopecia Areata too, including England footballer Jonjo Shelvey and Olympic gold medallist Joanna Rowsell Shand who is an ambassador for the charity Alopecia UK.
For those with the moderate, patchy form that only affects the scalp, Belgravia offers alopecia areata treatment featuring topical applications of recommended high strength minoxidil formulations for men and women as well as adolescents from 16 years of age.
People under 16 and for those affected by the more extreme forms of alopecia, hair loss charities such as those supported by these sports stars, can provide valuable peer support and advice on what can be confidence-denting disorders.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.