Reader’s Stories

We can all learn from each other’s experiences with concussions. Do you have a story you’d like to share with Chris that you would like to give him the option to post in this space for other readers to learn from? 

Do you have an experience you’d like to share with Chris to help with his research but that you would like to remain private?

9-13-06 – Note from Chris: I received a note today that the cousin of one of his former teammates at Harvard survived a case of SIS in 2000. The following two stories document his slow recovery. He received a tracheotomy on the field and barely survived. I am receiving stories like this nearly every day, but it’s amazing that few ever hear about them. Story 1. Story 2 6 months later.

When I was 15, I was in a scrimmage for hockey tryouts, got a breakaway (I play defense so this was big) and was checked from behind as I was about to shoot and crashed into the boards. Later, I heard I skated off the ice myself except I don’t remember anything other than opening my eyes up in the dressing room. My mom was annoyed that they just left me right when she arrived. I function fine but now am told to wear a mouth guard which I do feel takes the shock of the big hit so I’ll keep with it. I hope your book becomes a best seller!
– Dillon Wolford, 21

Thanks for your article on SI.com about concussions. As you know, it’s hard to get people, particularly athletes, passionate about what they do, to understand how serious this is. After a bicycle accident, I continued to play rugby for almost two years, being knocked unconscious just about every weekend, and it took two years and speculative treatment with nortriptylene to beat back a fairly ridiculous range of symptoms. I had no idea–and I’m the son and brother of doctors. More people need to hear about your message, and learn about the baseline testing program coming out of Pittsburgh. Sadly, I think this crisis will probably only be taken seriously when teams or schools lose lawsuits on the issue.
Thanks for your work,
– Dan

I heard your interview this morning on the “Loren and Wally Show” (105.7 FM – Boston). Your talk pertaining to concussions made me reflect on my own experiences. I’m 55 now, but some 35+ years ago, when I was playing high school football, I suffered a “career ending” concussion; devastating to a HS football player looking at potential college scholarships, but in hindsight, a godsend. I was lucky, the team physician was a player’s father who happened to be a neurosurgeon and a former Patriots trainer. Although he came from the school of “shot of cortisone and get back in”, when it came to injuries above the shoulder, he took a completely different approach. He kept me out of school for a week, ran an EEG and then told me no running for a month … I never did play another contact sport.
Would this injury have caused debilitating and long-term effects if I had kept playing? I don’t know, but given the long term effects of the other sports injuries, I’m guessing the answer is yes. It’s about time someone bring this to the attention of trainers, coaches, and parents. The fact that you’re a Harvard graduate will hopefully increase the impact your message will have on the sports community.
– Fred

I just listened to you on WROR yesterday. I was very interested in what you had to say. My 9 year old son is suffering from post concussion symptoms now. Much to my dismay football is his favorite sport!
On September 9 he was at his Pop Warner practice. My son caught a pass when one of his own teammates tackled him head first. They hit helmets pretty hard. I was ready to be sick when I saw it was my son who just got hit. Keep in mind this was PRACTICE! Of course the coaches congratulated the “hitter” and never asked my son if he was ok. As I watched him, he got right up and seemed to be ok. Well, a few days later he was complaining of headaches. He missed some school because the pain was so bad. I took him to the hospital 4 days after the incident. They did a CAT scan which was normal. I then met with a neurologist from Children’s Hospital in Boston. She ordered an MRI which also came out normal. She prescribed some pain medication, which I am reluctant to give to my 9 year old.
Your show on the radio I found very informative! It was kind of nice to hear that there are other people out there who suffer from the same symptoms. I just wish someone could give me some more information as to long term symptoms. They say my son’s symptoms could last up to a year. So in other words, give him the medicine and deal with it.
I am so upset with these football coaches! Safety should be FIRST. Not, ‘hey nice hit!’ They never knew my son was hurt until he didn’t show up for practice the next day. Shame on them! These kids are 9 and 10 years old!
Thanks for your time. I can’t wait to read your book.
– Concerned Mom, Erin

I’m writing you to tell you my story of the MANY concussions. I also was a pro wrestler. I was never on the scale you were but I spent 17 years in the business. I cannot count the times I hit my head with either a chair or found a bald spot in the mat where my head hit straight wood. My last match was in 1998. Things then started to go weird for me. Depression, anger issues and some days not wanting to get outta bed. Lets fast forward to 2001, I thought I had a heart problem, felt like I was having a heart attack along with the headaches I was having. My family doctor sent me to a place here in Memphis Midtown mental health. With the help of Dr. Grimming we found that all my health problems were for the concussions I had suffered, I talk with people I worked with at the times, best part was the fact I had my best friend on the road with me. We have come up with at least 9 concussions that I remember (sort of). There may have been as many as 15 total.
So needless to say I’m 43 and unable to hold down a job, There are many times I forget things as they happen. I have a very hard time with remembering things like the year 2001 and 2002.
I Hope you can understand this letter. I plan to get your book and want to wish you all the best.
– Ron

Ten and injured: The story on youth football was insightful and informative, but it forgot to mention the most damaging effects on children [“Tough Guys,” by Daniel Kramer, November 9]. My son, who is ten years old, received a mild concussion on September 16. Two months later, he still suffers from a debilitating concussion, with headaches from morning to night. He can only attend one class a day at school, because as he says, “I feel like my head is going to explode.” It seems there is nobody with answers for us — not neurologist, psychologist or neuropsychologist. Our family unit is suffering from lack of support and places to turn to. Hopefully, our son will recover sooner rather than later, but nobody knows anything about post-concussion syndrome apparently. I love football and so does my son, but if I knew what I know now, he would not have played.