The crowd, concussions and me. What I learnt first hand.

The crowd “went silent”  the player “lay motionless” the medics were “taking every precaution”. It was just yesterday, Sunday in the CFL when  players took to one knee on the field  while their comrade lay on the turf.  This feet were taped together, medics lifted him up in a carefully synchronized count.   The ambulance was called. The game went on.  Hours later the lad on the field:  Marc Olivier Brouillette tweeted:  Thank you…everything looks good and I will be okay.

After the game, Montreal head coach Marc Trestman is reported to have said Brouillette suffered a concussion but was otherwise doing well.

Marc Olivier Brouillette was born on St. Valentine’s Day. When he’s on the field, he plays his heart out. He’s a kind and beefy looking lad of 26. He makes a 49 inch box jump with weights look very “do-able”.  He’s an athlete-  a young and healthy one, but as someone who  knows, I can let you in a a simple truth.
People  who have a concussion don’t do so “well” for a while.  They are in a fog.  A big fog.  They have a head ache.  A big head ache.  Balance is off.  Looking up or sideways brings on vertigo. Focussing is difficult. Thinking is a strain. Lights and sounds hurt the brain.

I don’t play football and I’m not a “young strapping” athlete but   I am in week five of concussion recovery and I can tell you it doesn’t feel “fine”. My concussion is mild.  I have had a headache each and every day all day for 30 something continuous days.  I still  get tired focussing or thinking.  My balance is off and my body is still sore.  Today’s a good day,  but I’m not fine.

My job as a director requires that I think and  I pride myself in (usually) being a quick thinker.  I love to synthesize, analyze, ponder, consider and plan.  Not so much this past month.

Today is a good day.  I’m doing some thinking and some writing.  I’ve even done a little analyzing and planning.  But I’m all tuckered out now.  I think I may  have to have a lay down.
Sidney Crosby says that when he went back to playing, he played with concussion symptoms, for example his eyes weren’t tracking.  (Concussions are a very interesting phenomenon-  they are diagnosed based on symptoms because you can’t see a concussion  until you do a brain biopsy.  That’s why athletes  have willed their brains to science.)

But back to Sydney Crosby playing hockey without fully functional eyes. I can tell you that functioning with non tracking eyes is a little cumbersome, because my eyes still don’t track well. When your eyes don’t track, you can’t focus quickly enough to watch anything that’s moving quickly.  Sometimes you see double, and sometimes anything that moves in front of you has a little shadow, or tail.  I can only speculate how this would be a bit of a disadvantage while playing hockey.  That along with the balance thing.

My doc (a sports injury doc) reminds me that the body takes its own time to heal and that concussions and soft tissue injuries take longer to be made right.  I know that a twenty-something athlete is going to heal a lot more quickly than I, but I do know that any athlete who has had a concussion is not going to feel fine.  Not for a while.

BC (before concussion)  I’d take a little longer to refine this post and check for spelling errors and clear thinking.  But today I know this is the best it’s going to get – at least for a while.  That’s ok.  Actually, I’m doing fine.


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