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Mental and emotional costs of a concussion

Medical risks associated with concussions are cause for concern for any high-risk group, such as athletes who play contact sports. In a guest post today on The Atlantic's website, writer Dan Keane shares his experience of suffering a concussion and creates a vivid, if terrifying, picture of being unable to control one's mind and emotions following an injury.

From the post:

I took a soccer ball to the face in February. After the initial dizziness and the warm roar behind my forehead came a wave of bottomless sadness unlike anything I'd ever felt before. As my teammates kept playing, I sat groggily on the bench and decided that the manner in which I'd been hurt, arriving late to a defensive play in my team's own end, perfectly embodied all the failings of my adult life: I had no discipline, no foresight; my life goals were all pipe dreams that laziness had let slip away; I couldn't ever truly love the people around me. I mentioned a bit of this to the ER docs that night, and they said yes, that's one of the symptoms, it'll pass.


A concussion makes you doubt, in a very visceral way, your ability to govern your own head. Your thinker is broken. Am I really depressed, or do I just have an endless headache? What's the difference anymore? Or, like a movie plot, has the bump on the head revealed a purer, darker, lonelier self, the person I always feared I was?

Previously: Report finds brain injuries rising among high school football players, Can high-tech helmets safeguard young athletes against concussions? and A conversation with Daniel Garza about football and concussions
Photo by: C Jill Reed

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