• Sumo

By Ken Reed

I read a ton about concussions in sports. Most of what I read comes in the form of journal articles, research reports and second-hand accounts. But what really hits home is when you read a first-hand account of how a concussion or long-term sub-concussive brain trauma changes someone’s personality and life. These accounts are especially heartrending when they involve young children and teenagers. I came across one such story yesterday on Huffington Post. It was written by Journey Bailey, a former high school football player who underwent a harrowing experience due to a football-induced concussion. He also touches on the many hurdles he’s faced on a daily basis since the brain injury.

The article is a powerful must-read for any young football player and his parents. It should also be read by school administrators, athletic directors, and youth and high school football coaches everywhere.

Here’s one impactful excerpt:

“Here’s what nobody explained to me until it was already too late: concussions damage an important part of the brain called white matter, a vital part of your central nervous system that delivers information from one part of your head to another. To sum it up; the more concussions you get the less clearly you think. Exposing yourself to head collisions on a regular basis is like playing Russian roulette with your brain, and each time one of those collisions results in a concussion another bullet is added to that spinning gridiron chamber, increasing the odds that your next concussion will be your last. Some players like me kept pulling the trigger until it was too late. …

“My intention here is not to vilify football, a game I revere and respect to this day. Rather, it is to tell you truthfully that playing football took something away from me that I can never get back. It robbed me of the potential to utilize the brain I was born with …”

Journey is an excellent young writer. This excerpt doesn’t do the story justice. Please take a look.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans

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