By Kiley Fischer
Headaches come in varying forms of varying severity. Migraines, sinus headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches all plague the human race on a daily basis. However, as someone who rarely experiences headaches, a pounding headache after taking a shot to the back of the head during a hockey game was a red flag for something much more serious.
In my own incident, a clearing attempt from behind the net struck me in the back of the head. I was wearing a goalie mask, so it didn’t necessarily hurt. It did, however, leave me with a very unpleasant headache the next day. As the day went on, I started experiencing other symptoms: fatigue, weird vision, and sensitivity to light and noise.
A friend drove me to the emergency room and the professionals confirmed the damage: a minor concussion. No hockey, take it easy, no work. In the exact words of the doctor, “Be like Sidney Crosby. Be careful.” At first, I thought removing myself from everyday life would kill me.
As the symptoms grew worse, it turned out I didn’t want to move. In fact, I wanted to lock myself in a pitch-black, silent room for the next five years and never move. One day I’d feel great, but a few hours later I’d want to return to that non-existent dark room.
The dangers of any concussion are real. However, sports concussions hold their own risks. Players want to return as soon as possible. They don’t want to let their teammates or themselves down. But this rush to return to the game puts an athlete in danger of a second and possibly more severe concussion.
Concussions are different for everyone. As the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “Remember, you can’t see a concussion and some athletes may not experience and/or report symptoms until hours or days after the injury. Most people with a concussion will recover quickly and fully. But for some people, signs and symptoms of concussion can last for days, weeks, or longer.”
Remember that symptoms might not show up immediately. Safety is more important than any game. As the CDC suggests, if you suspect you might have a concussion, inform your coach, ensure you’re evaluated by a healthcare professional, and be sure you’re cleared for play before returning
Be aware! These symptoms are synonymous with concussions. These might show up later, so be sure to continue to monitor yourself:
- Headache or “pressure” in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems
- Does not “feel right” or is “feeling down”