“You’re quiet Gunnar” “You seem like your acting funny” “Hey do you feel okay” “Where are you right now”
These are just a few of the questions and statements I’ve heard over the past few weeks. And I’ve come to the realization all of which are somewhat frustratingly unanswerable.
Two weeks ago I suffered a somewhat mild to moderate concussion in a soccer game against Seven Hills. The incident occurred when I went after what I had judged as a 50/50 ball (when in reality it was more of a 70/30). Needless to say, the odds were on the side of 6’4’’ Sophomore defender. I collided with his elbow full sprint. Jarred from the hit, I was unable to regain any sense of gravity and my head was the only appendage moving fast enough to break the fall. This dual collision left me crumpled on the ground for about 15 seconds. But for fear of being subbed off, my instinct told me to wipe my turf covered face off and get back up. Running off solely adrenaline combined with some minor brain damage, I told myself I was okay and my body soon believed it. But unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.
I continued to play the game out, recording an assist as well as few more head-balls that undoubtedly secured my state of concussion. Following the game, nothing really seemed out of the ordinary apart from a mild headache which I believed to simply be a result of the aforementioned head-balls I had taken.
Afterwards, I stopped by friends house in Indian Hill. It was on a Graffiti-ed couch in his IKEA furnished room that I think I began to feel it. As I listened to a group of my friends talk, my brain struggled and searched for words, but I could make no contribution to the conversation. Irritated, I looked down at my phone only to discover that I my text responses were a struggle to formulate as well. This was probably a marquee sign considering I’m rarely at loss for words. But at the time I simply decided it was exhaustion and dismissed my worrying. Over the next few days I debated on telling someone about how I felt. Foolishly fearing missing sports, I kept quiet about my symptoms. Unsurprisingly, the high energy 6th graders combined with activity packed days at Camp Kern only exacerbated my symptoms and by Wednesday I was struggling to get through the day without experiencing throbbing headaches. Surrendering to the pain, I decided to inform my mother of my symptoms and shortly thereafter I was diagnosed concussed.
Bear, a labrador retriever,sits in an ink stained chair in which my symptoms first became apparent (PHOTO BY CAWDREY).
A wave of emotion soon consumed me. Not only was I dealing with worsening symptoms but I felt I had let multiple people down. Instead of reporting my issue and sitting in a dark room with no mental stimulation like I should’ve been doing , I was at camp continuing to worsen my condition. I had consciously prolonged my recovery period and inconvenienced my coaches in the process.
The past week has been kind of a blur of frustration. My expectation that the symptoms would subside like the common cold was entirely false. For the first few days, I spent a lot of time in my room with the lights turned off. Since screen-time only worsens concussions, I found myself eerily in tune with the emptiness of the pitch black room. As I lay in my bedroom for hours on end accompanied only by my thoughts, I became much more aware of how much I rely on some sort of stimulation from human or technology.