21-year-old male ex-hockey player

Concussions were never something I took seriously until I had to quit hockey because of them. I am currently 21 years old and haven’t been able to play contact sports for more than 5 years. I was playing high level hockey when I received my eighth concussion. I have had concussion many different ways: playing on monkey bars, roller blading, wrestling with friends and playing hockey and lacrosse. My last and most serious concussion I suffered in a hockey fight. I had post-concussion syndrome, which then turned into a daily chronic headache that lasted for years.

Concussions are scary because they are not like a broken arm — they can’t just be healed with a cast or medication. The brain is such a complex thing. After I had to quit hockey, the headaches and the lack of physical activity lead to depression. Since I couldn’t play the sport I loved, I felt like I no longer fit in. Since I wasn’t able to work out or do any physical activity for a long time, I put on weight and this made me feel even worse. I began to no longer find joy in hanging out with friends or being social. It made tasks such as school and work much harder to deal with. The years I should have been having the most fun I was dealing with this problem.

A concussion is not just a minor injury; it can lead to so many other major issues, both physical and emotional. Concussions are too often ignored because it is an injury you do not see. I know how easy it is to tell yourself you don’t have a concussion when you really do; I told myself that a few times. Doing serious damage to your brain is not worth playing that extra game or those few extra shifts. Concussions can lead to so many other serious problems that I personally experienced and would not wish upon anybody. A concussion is a very serious injury and should be treated that way.