• Training Tips

Girl Chat: Concussions with Rebecca

rebeccastella
11-14-2017

A concussion occurs through a bump or blow to the head causing the brain to move inside the skull, changing chemicals and damaging brain cells.

Some athletes might experience loss of consciousness on impact, and short-term consequences typically include headaches, dizziness, nausea, trouble concentrating and thinking properly, and either sleeping too much or too little.

Once you get a concussion, it is easier to get another one and the effects might be worse, especially if proper precautions are not taken.

I experienced many of those short-term effects following a concussion during the soccer season in the spring of 2016, when I collided with two players and then my head hit the ground. When I didn’t get up right away, the referee forced me to go out of the game to get checked out. Not wanting to miss out on any of the action, I lied to my coach about how I was feeling, and told her I was fine to go back in.

I was glad to contribute to our 1-1 tie with another school, but later that night I was taken to the emergency room when I could no longer hide the fact that I was in great pain.  Doctors determined I had a concussion and told me to go home and rest. They said I couldn’t play until all symptoms of my concussion had gone away.

I didn’t listen, though. Two weeks, numerous doctors’ appointments and several lies about symptoms later, I was back on the field with my team. But not for long.

My first game back, I experienced a full-on, head-to-head collision with another player, forcing me to the sidelines again, where Catholic Central High school’s athletic trainer determined I had another concussion.

The worst part: it kept me out of soccer for the rest of the season and more. I couldn’t play or practice from April until mid-July, which meant missing part of summer conditionings along with many extracurricular activities like concerts.

During this time, I had to attend 18 sessions of physical therapy that involved strength- and balance-rebuilding exercises.

 

I also had to get academic accommodations during this time, including postponed test dates, extended time for AP exams, and exemption from CC’s final exams.

While those accommodations might sound like a good thing, they didn’t outweigh the frustration of seeing my grades fall and missing out on a season and other fun activities.

Because of my irresponsibility, I now have to wear protective headgear while I play soccer, and I face the possibility of no longer being able to play sports at all if I get another concussion.

CC takes concussions seriously, requiring parents and players to sign a form saying they understand what a concussion is and how you get one. They also have student athletes take a baseline computerized concussion test. In addition, coaches always have their players’ best interest in mind.

While the desire to participate in sporting events is great, especially for dedicated athletes, if symptoms of concussions present themselves, I highly suggest you take them more seriously than I did. Take time off to recuperate, rather than facing worse consequences later.

 

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