Reality Check – How concussions can affect your academic performance as well as your athletic performance
by Keaton Harris
"Five to ten percent of athletes will experience a concussion in any given sport season" -Sports Concussion Institute
Although the probability of experiencing a concussion is slim, I can attest that a concussion is certainly real. A concussion is a traumatic injury to the brain typically caused by a blow to the head. I suffered a concussion in my sophomore year of high school during a school basketball game. This incident greatly impacted my health, grades and social life.
I sustained my concussion in the game while driving in the paint and jumping up in the air to make a shot. All of a sudden, I felt an opposing player slide under my legs and undercut me. I instinctively passed out of my shot; however, I was unable to find my footing as gravity pulled me down. Due to being undercut, my body flipped upside down, causing my legs to go up in the air while my head plummeted to the hardwood. I was knocked out on the court for several moments. My coach pulled me out of the game and I was tended to by the trainers of the high school. The trainers asked me a series of questions, yet I managed to answer them accurately. They encouraged my parents to take me to the hospital for precautionary purposes. My back and head throbbed as we rode to the nearest hospital. My parents lead me into the emergency room where doctors eventually cared to my ailments. After a series of tests were completed as part of the examination process, doctors came to the conclusion that I did indeed have a concussion. The prognosis was to rest and limit activity because concentration and judgment were significant side-effects of a concussion.
I attempted to go to school the following day of my incident because it was the week of finals testing. However, I struggled to focus in class. The vice principal of my school assured me that I could take as much time as I needed off to heal, in addition to rescheduling my tests. Even though this seemed to be a positive solution, my test grades suffered because I missed out on the preparation days in class. Although I regained my health, my GPA suffered.
Ultimately, concussions are serious and underrated in our society. They may seem miniscule or even nonexistent to some. I would like to emphatically state that concussions should not be taken lightly. My experience has taught me the severity of a blow to the head. I’d like to recommend going to a doctor if you sustain any head trauma during a sports related activity. Follow all instructions and advice that your health care providers give you and remember that adequate precautions and proper care will protect your health in the long run. All in all, concussions are serious and I would not wish this injury upon anyone.
Keaton is currently a senior attending Campo Verde High School in Gilbert, Arizona. He is a stellar student-athlete and continues to compete in the classroom and on the hardwood. To learn more about Keaton, visit his website www.KeatonHarris.com