My Experience with Concussions

I started playing organized football at age twelve and continued through high school and college. I love the game. But lately, I am also concerned about the safety of those who play it.

In ten seasons, I suffered two concussions, one during my senior year of high school and one during the final game of my college career– the last time I put on a helmet.

In neither case was I knocked out.  Most players with concussions aren’t.  After the hit in that last college game, I remember getting off the ground and a teammate grabbing me by my shoulder pads and asking if I was ok.  I’m sure I said yes, but behind him, it looked to me as if the concrete stands were swaying.

I don’t remember much after that.  I stayed on the field for a few more plays, but, apparently, as the quarterback, I wasn’t making much sense in the huddle.  My teammates and coaches got me out of the game and that was the end of my playing days.  Knowing what I know now about head injury, I am grateful that no one let me tough it out and finish the game.

Neither of my concussions required a hospital stay.  Rest seemed to be the cure.  But years later, I did begin to experience migraine headaches.  My neurologist couldn’t pinpoint the cause, but said he couldn’t rule out my concussions or the many hits I’d taken while playing football.  Fortunately, my migraines have all but disappeared.

After the concussion in college, I went to see the team doctor.  He examined me, then asked if I was thinking of trying to play pro football.  I told him no.  “Good,” he said, “Two concussions are enough.”