When your head takes you out of the game: On sports and concussions
Today was a good day.
To be quite honest, it was a very stressful day. I had very little sleep last night; today I had a major presentation, a work shift, and a meeting—but I skipped something that happens almost daily. I have not had a headache today.
I got my first concussion six years ago playing hockey, my sport of choice. If you ask me how I got it I could tell you the story, but it is only what people who were there to witness have told me. The only thing I remember from that day is waiting in the emergency room, being blessed by the sound of the screaming baby beside me, while I tried to keep my cool with my head exploding. Since then I have daily reminders of that concussion, as well as the one that I had three years later. Some of these painful souvenirs include oversensitivity to light, seeing stars, pounding in my head and, of course, the headaches. Along with all of this I also have migraines on a semi-regular basis—something I never had before the first injury.
Jory Davies, a first year and rookie on the TWU Bombers hockey team, suffered a concussion in the fall and was forced to miss the last month and a half of the first semester. It is no secret that those weeks are the busiest time of each semester. However, his professors were very understanding of his situation, and allowed him to finish his assignments and take his exams at his own pace. In spite of his concussion, he came back this semester taking nine courses (nine!) but was thankful for the grace that his professors had for him in the first semester. Being able to rest without the added stress of schoolwork or the necessity of retaking a full semester really helped him heal.
Concussions are a dangerous beast. It is not something you can physically see, like a broken arm or leg. There is not much that can be done to treat a concussion, other than resting in darkness. The brain is one of the most important parts of your body, so take every precaution to protect it. It does not matter if you are playing a sport or running around doing crazy stuff in the dark during Fort Week, if you hit your head and feel as though you have got your “bell rung,” it is okay to take a break! It is so much better to pause and get your bearings than to play through pain just to prove you are tough. Your brain is like any other part of your body: when it is injured, you need to take it easy. When it is recommended, wear a helmet; and when it is not, still be careful. You are in school to learn, and it is a lot easier to do that when your mind is working at its full potential!
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