Sydney & Denny

Sydney & Denny
September at the Park

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


It really hurts!
I would like to talk about a topic that is really in the news right now, and it's something that I hope never comes up in my life. Concussions.
I looked up the definition and causes of concussions on WebMD and found an overview of the ailment. I know this much, it doesn't matter what any website, or medical journal, or even an actual doctor says, a concussion sucks! I've had at least two and both times it was a really weird feeling. 
Well, like I said, concussions are really big in the news right now with the NFL trying to crack down on the hits that cause head trauma during their games. There was a huge article in Sports Illustrated this week about this subject that I really took to heart. Like I said earlier, I have had at least two concussions of my own and I can't imagine being one of those guys that have had quite a few of them. Guys like Steve Young, or Troy Aikman, who basically had to retire because of concussions. What does that do to your brain after multiple concussions? Well, there is research now that says it affects short term memory, can lead to dementia later in life, and cause ALS or severe depression. None of those are good things. I don't think that I'm at risk of any of those things due to the two concussions I had. Both were isolated incidents and the second was not a result of having had the first one. Research shows that after having a concussion a person is more apt to have a second, or even more. I am pretty sure that wasn't the case for me. Both of mine were due to incredibly hard hits directly to my head. The first one, I was playing JV basketball and dove for a loose ball. When I turned with the ball to pass it, a guy was running by and his knee drilled me in the right temple. I was kind of out of it, and saw fuzzy out of one eye for the rest of the game. I never came out of the game or even told anyone about it. The second came my senior year of football and the last game of my high school career. I had decided that since it was my last game, I was going to hit every guy I saw, as hard as I could. Well, we punted to the other team and I was running down to cover it when I seen a guy on the other team ripe for me to just light him up. That's what I did, only it didn't work out so well for me. I don't remember anything after the hit except hearing the poor guy screaming. Turns out, the force that I hit him with caused him to snap his leg as well as knocking me out. Of course I never left the field or even realized that I was concussed. I remember thinking during the game that I didn't remember putting my contacts in that morning. I then thought that was a pretty weird thing to be thinking about during a football game, and then realized that I didn't remember even the fact that I was playing a football game!
"You just got your bell rung."
Now this last game of my high school career was twenty years ago(HOLY CRAP, I can't believe it's been that long!) There wasn't the awareness of concussions at the time, and that's kind of scary. I told my coach that I didn't remember the first half during our halftime meeting, and he told me he'd fill me in the next day! No one thought that maybe that's not a good thing that I didn't remember stuff. Well, I was fine(in fact I had the best half of football of my career in the second half. I scored two TDs and intercepted a pass,) and I haven't suffered any effects ever. But, my point is, I could have. And, here is where my real point comes up. I'm a parent now and I worry that this could happen to my kids. I really hope that my kids both want to play sports, and I especially want my son to play football. However, I want them safe and healthy more than I want anything else. I want to know that if they do play sports their safety is put first by their coaches, and by themselves. I know that if someone would have tried to take me out of either of the games I spoke about, I would have said "NO WAY I'M COMING OUT!!!" It wasn't the "manly" thing to do. I'd like to think that if my parents had known either time what was going on, they would have made the choice to make me sit out. But, I did tell them after both incidents what had happened, and they never took me for any follow up care. I don't fault them one bit because like I said, there wasn't the awareness about concussions twenty years ago that there is today. I was told that I had gotten my bell rung, and I would be fine. There are some people(maybe even my wife!) who would argue that the concussions have caused me to be a little off my rocker now. Heck, maybe they are why I am rambling on so long with this blog post! I guess we would only know if I had a CT Scan.
Error on the side of caution.
During the football season last year, Tim Tebow was knocked out of a game with a concussion. TebowTebow's parents in the situation. Should they step in and say he shouldn't play? Should his coach make the call, or should the doctors? Personally, if I were his father, he would have sit out. Not even a question in my mind. I'm telling you, if Denny plays football and has concussion symptoms, he's not playing again until he is symptom free for at least a week. I'm not a doctor by any means, but I know this much, my son's long term health is way more important that ANY game he could ever play. I'm probably the biggest lover of sports out there, and I still say that I would never put the future of my kid in jeopardy for anything. If I had been Tebow's father, he would have sit out the next game. He has made it to the NFL, he seems to be fine. But, what if? Isn't that the biggest question when it comes to your kid?
Okay, I'm down off my soapbox now, and I'd like to tell Big Daddy Paul congratulations on his team, the San Fransisco Giants, winning the World Series tonight. I am sure him and his son are partying pretty hard right about now. I would also like to send my condolences to Papa K, whose team, the Texas Rangers, just lost to the Giants. I'm sure he's fairly upset right now, and I surely understand. Baseball is not the most important thing in life, but being passionate about things you love, as those two guys area about their teams, is pretty important. 
I hope the World Series turned out how you wanted. Have a great night and I look forward to your comments on my thoughts about concussions. 


  1. Yeah, Papa K is not happy now. Concussions are, as I guess we're finding out, not insignificant. If my kid got a concussion, I'd have to think very hard about having him continue with his sport. I've been lucky as I did martial arts for years without ever getting knocked out or getting a concussion. My boys want to be martial artists as well, so it's something we'll have to be careful of.

  2. Keith, how do you feel about your kids doing martial arts? Is it just an activity for fun, or do you want to see it as a way to self-defend? I'd really like to learn some of the arts myself and have my kids learn as well. Just because there are so many situations that I can't see in advance, and that I won't be able to protect them in. I'd like to give them something of a fighting chance.