The Life of an Athlete with Multiple Concussions
By Gabrielle Dangle
It’s seen all over the news and media. The headline states, “Pro-athlete, [insert name here], will be missing a game or season due to a concussion.” As bystanders in the world of professional sports, such news is often heard but never really understood.
It’s not that people don’t know what a concussion is, and the symptoms involved. In literal terms, a concussion is easy to understand; there is injury to the brain that disrupts how the brain functions. However, the grey area arises with understanding how concussions affect the life of an athlete. The emotions, the worries, and the regret (what ifs) – these things are difficult to measure.
While this blog article will shed some light on what it means to live with a concussion and why this topic matters a lot for athletes, there is always an unknown variable. Which means that the story is never truly complete.
Passion for the Sport
Let’s start with the WHY.
Why do athletes compete?
There are many reasons to this. But most athletes would say it’s the combination of their passion for the sport and their skills that led them to play professionally. There could have been external pressure to perform but for the most part, they’re playing their sport because they WANT to, not because they have to.
Unfortunately, their passion for the sport can lead to them making sacrifices with their physical and/or mental health. For example, a lot of athletes would either hide or downplay their injury to play another game. It’s a lot more common than you’d think.
Regrettably, you just need to get a concussion once, and you’re more susceptible to getting it again. Once you get a second concussion, the time it takes to recover last longer than the first. A mild concussion can get bypassed, and athletes continue to play even after getting one.
Repercussions of Concussions
Every sport requires mental work. It’s not all about physical stature, reflexes, and so on. It’s also about strategy, teamwork, and experience; all of which involve mental work.
What happens when an athlete is suffering from not just one but multiple concussions?
It could potentially mean the end of their career. A concussion can slow down their reaction time, which in some sports, is especially crucial.
Imagine Formula 1 drivers. They need to have super-fast reaction times. In fact, most of them can react to something in the track in as little as 0.2 seconds. It’s a sport that requires incredible focus and mental agility. Travelling at speeds of up to 210 mph with other cars also travelling along the same speed, their reaction time is also the fine line between life or death.
Every sport comes with risks. An athlete goes into every game knowing and understanding the risks involved; but they don’t go into a game thinking of the risks.
A concussion can happen to a 35-year-old athlete who is ready to retire or a 25-year-old athlete who is at the peak of their career. Because of its spontaneous nature, there is a lot more emotional impact for athletes since a concussion can determine the end of their career.
With that said, it’s not easy for athletes to simply give up the sport. When they have no choice but to give up something they love, plenty of athletes will fall into depression and anxiety. That sentiment is something that we can all probably relate to.
Living with a Concussion
Even though concussions are more prevalent in athletes, anyone can suffer from it. It’s hard to know when someone is dealing with the repercussions of concussions because it’s internal. They may look normal on the outside but are struggling on the inside.
There is a solution to this. If you or someone you know is suffering from a concussion, then reach out to us at Surrey Neuroplasticity Clinic. There are a variety of treatments to choose from, depending on your symptoms.
Although we will never fully know the struggles of people dealing with concussion symptoms, we hope to understand even just a fraction of it.