My hidden injury
Physically I look normal, but mentally I have been concussed for 10 and a half months and I am a better student because of it.
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It was an average game day for my teammates and me: the whistle blew and the soccer match began against the Mater Dei Mustangs. Little did I know that the game would change my life.
As I go against a player, I fall backwards on the field, hitting my neck and head against the turf causing my vision and mind to go blank. All I knew was that my head was pounding with pain and I was taken out of the game to rest.
Like any other athlete, I told my coach that I was good to continue playing, so I went back in the game. Pushing through the pain, I started to run and headed the soccer ball — which was a big mistake.
The next day I went to school and when I came home, I took what thought I would be a short nap, but ended up sleeping for over 20 hours. I felt completely different when I woke up, but I continued to play another game of soccer the following day… and one small hit to the head with the ball, and I start to think like a five-year-old, losing both my memory and identity.
I finally decided to tell someone about my symptoms and I immediately went to the doctor. With many different tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MIR) scans, the doctor concluded that I had a traumatic brain injury (major concussion) and recommended I to see a concussion specialist.
While going to the doctor twice a week, I was on concussion protocol for a month which meant that I was not allowed to participate in anything.
For a whole month I missed school and sat in a dark room all day with no technology. I could not interact or hang out with friends, I had to take weird vitamins and pills and I could not exercise.
Not seeing my friends and not being able to exercise was the worst part of it all. I fell behind school and failed my second semester of freshman year, I forgot how to comprehend books and even conversations, and I couldn’t talk to anyone except for my family.
All I knew is that it would be a long trip to recovery and I was determined to get there.
By pushing my brain harder, I finally fully recovered in 10 and a half months because I had to learn differently and study extra hard to retain information.
I have always been an average student, but my grades now– with the help from my new study habits– show my academic improvement.
I managed to go from failing freshman year to receiving a 4.0 last semester in my junior year.
Now, post-concussion, I am thriving in school. This injury has taught me to push my limits and to be more determined than I have ever been in my life.
Many people are unaware of the dangers of having a head injury. If the concussion is not properly taken care of with plenty of rest, it may result in long-term symptoms. Take it from me… if your head hurts, take it easy and rest.