Concussion effects need added awareness

Kali Daniel

Everything seemed to move in slow motion as I saw the granite tile approach my eyes. I was weightless, but not thoughtless, as an expletive ran through my head.

“Are you OK?” A girl with blonde hair grabbed my books and helped me up.

“Wow, I’m sure glad that wasn’t me. I’d be so embarrassed!”

I was dizzy. I was stunned. And after a trip to the nurse’s office, a call home and a day in the hospital, it was confirmed: I had a concussion.

In my case, I was clumsy. I tripped over my feet and sailed down the stairs at my high school, catching my fall with my face. Of the 7 billion people in the world, 42 million will experience a concussion this year, according to the World Health Organization. For most of us, it can cause temporary memory loss throughout our lives, but for others, it can end careers.

So far this year the concussion count is up to 83 for the NFL. The organization settled a lawsuit in April regarding concussions for $1 billion, but the money was not (and still is not) the issue. The issue is that glaring number and the careers ended because of it.

In the debacle surrounding the NFL, 5,000 retired players claimed the league had weak policies regarding concussions.

I am not a sports guru, but when I hear the names Brett Favre and Terry Bradshaw, I know who we are talking about. The Associated Press declared in 2004 Favre received his third concussion. The Los Angeles Times declared in 2011 Terry Bradshaw had six.

Favre went on record with Sports Illustrated saying, “It really is scary. If you have to walk with a little bit of a limp, you can’t put it away. If you like to throw with your kid but you can’t sling your arm back, then so be it. But if you can’t remember how to get back to your house or where you live, that’s a whole different element.”

Both have stated the devastating effects of concussions, from the lack of orientation to the memory loss and general confusion.

This week, former UNA wide receiver Eric Belew received a concussion that ended his sporting career.

In the page sports section story on concussions, Belew said it was his sixth since his sophomore year of high school. While Belew said his coaches and teammates support his decision, the issue of acceptance is still prevalent in sports.

By pushing understanding of concussion prevention, continuing screenings and encouraging athletes to speak up about their injuries, concussions will no longer be a silent injury, but one with a voice.

Today, I still occasionally forget things — like how I got to school or what my phone number of six years is. It is scary. If you know someone who has or has had a concussion, let them know you understand, you care and most of all you are there for them.