Speaking from experience, you don’t truly know how much you use your brain every day until you’ve gotten a concussion.
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head. Although there is no specific cure, rest and restricting activities, such as socializing and using electronics, can help the brain recover, according to WebMD.com.
Concussions are nothing to joke about. I want every athlete to know that your physical health, your life, is more important than some extra playing time.
Throughout my life, I suffered five concussions. Three of them were sports-related and about one year apart. However, I never truly knew the risk of this traumatic brain injury until my most recent concussion.
It was caused by a blow to the right side of my head. I was playing in a soccer game as the goalie, and I was kicked in the head by a player trying to score on me. Being the stubborn person I am, I denied having any symptoms. That’s where I made my mistake.
When I came back to school, my symptoms had progressed. I was sensitive to light, my speech was slightly impaired and I had balance problems. I had to let my trainer know, and after going through multiple tests, I learned I had suffered a concussion.
Since I waited so long to let anyone know, it would be longer before I could return to the field. It was frustrating. I cried every day, every night. I couldn’t balance myself to walk straight. When I tried to ask my mom for help, she couldn’t understand what I was saying. I was stuck in a dark room, with nothing to do but sleep. It was the worst feeling.
When I had finally recuperated and went back to school, I was sent home after less than an hour. I went to my piano class, sat down on the bench to play, but I couldn’t. I physically could not play the piano — my brain couldn’t comprehend what was going on, and it frustrated me even more to the point where I was crying.
These are just some of the things I experienced after sustaining a mild concussion. Yes. Mild. There are many other athletes out there who have had it way worse than I had to the point of neurological deterioration, suicide, personality changes and more — including death.
To all the athletes out there, I know what it’s like to love a sport and how much it hurts to be benched, but it’s better than having brain damage. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, brain injuries are the leading cause of death in sports.
Don’t “tough it out” and finish those last two innings.
Concussions should be taken seriously, don’t let your pride get in the way of that.