Stories about: Brain Injury Center

My life after concussion: Finding a new game

Esther playing soccer before her concussion and practicing her golfswing after her injury

I am a 15-year-old rising high school junior.

I suffered a severe concussion in April 2013 while playing soccer and continue to experience daily intermittent headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness and memory deficits. Before my concussion, I was an avid soccer player — I played on three teams including a competitive club team — and also played tennis, hockey, and skied.

I definitely underestimated the severity of my concussion. I went to school the next day and was diagnosed when the baseline test at school revealed red flags. Still, I continued to underestimate. I pressured myself to get back to my soccer team and to keep up in school.

I’ve learned a few important lessons during my recovery.

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What should parents know about concussions in the wake of Junior Seau’s suicide?

William Meehan, MD, director of Boston Children's Hospital's Sports Concussion Clinic

Yesterday’s suicide of former NFL star Junior Seau has once again raised troubling questions about the short- and long-term impact of concussions on the brain. While it’s not clear that Seau was diagnosed with concussions during his 20-plus year career, his method of suicide—shooting himself in the chest—echoes that of former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson, who killed himself in 2011 and left a note saying that he wanted his brain to be studied for the effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). According to Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, CTE is “a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma.”

Notice that it doesn’t say, “a history of concussion”. What’s troubling about CTE is that it’s not just happening to former NFL linemen who make their living crashing into each other every week. William Meehan, MD, director Boston Children’s Hospital’s Sports Concussion Clinic, says he’s seeing serious concussions in kids who play sports not typically associated with them.

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