This week, I am dedicating my blog to something much bigger than myself. This week I am dedicating my blog to something that has impacted me personally, that has affected people across the world and will inevitably continue affecting people in the future. This week, my blog is all about concussion awareness. Although concussions are invisible injuries, they are only as invisible as we make them. It’s time to make concussions more visible in our society. Over the course of the next week, I will be using my blog as a platform for individuals to share their stories on how they have been impacted by sustained concussion symptoms, also known as Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS). Inspired by a teammate, friend and fellow blogger who hosted a mental wellness week on her amazing blog which you can find here, I thought using her idea would be the perfect way to raise more awareness and understanding on the subject of concussions.
With respect to this coming week, here is the overall layout:
- September 4th : If you have a brain, read this – The overview
- September 5th : Noggins to noggins : The Science Behind It
- September 6-12th : Individual Stories
- September 13th : The Wrap Up
As an ambassador of Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF), all posts will be affiliated with CLF to raise awareness and proceeds for concussion research. The Concussion Legacy Foundation is a not for profit organization established in Boston, MA in 2007 by Chris Nowinski and Dr. Robert Cantu to advance the treatment, study and prevention of brain trauma in athletes or other at risk groups. Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada was founded in December 2012 by Tim Fleiszer, a previous Harvard teammate of Chris Nowinski. Tim Fleiszer is a former CFL player and a four time grey cup champion. Over the past year, CLF Canada has expanded to Ottawa to instill the foundations vision of concussion awareness in support of Rowan’s Law in which the Ottawa Concussion Project is named in her memory. In 2014, CLF Canada officially partnered with the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University.
For more information on Concussion Legacy Foundation, follow this link. If you are interested in donating, click here. Along with honoring those who have been affected by PCS, this “concussion week” is also a prelude in honor of the Concussion Legacy Foundations “Team Up Speak Up” event which is being conducted over social media on September 12th. If you, your team, or anyone else you know that might be interested in participating in the Team Up Speak Up event, all the information is HERE. For the record, its quick and easy to follow!
So, you may be wondering, why exactly am I so tied to the subject of concussion awareness? Well if you haven’t already guessed it, I had PCS. Growing up, I had always been active in sports. I played hockey and soccer throughout my adolescence where I had been lucky to be practically injury free apart from a concussion that kept me out of sports for two weeks. For university, I committed to Rochester Institute of Technology to play hockey where I once again had been lucky to be practically injury free except for a concussion in my sophomore year that lasted me two weeks, once again. However, my practically injury free luck came to a screeching halt in the first game of my junior year when I got checked in the head and got a concussion. That same concussion, stuck around for an entire year. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my concussion didn’t just sideline me from playing hockey, it sidelined me from participating in every aspect of my own life. For me, PCS was waking up with nausea, dizziness and headaches day in and day out for a year. It was battling with uncertain diagnoses and treatments for months until I received the proper care. It was attempting to explain my medical situation to people who even if they tried to understand; couldn’t. It was dealing with the loneliness, the helplessness and the hopelessness that I may never get better. PCS impacted my life for a year and still has a lingering affects on my daily activities to this day. By spreading more awareness and proceeds for concussion research, I hope that no one else has to live through the impact of PCS. To read more about my experience with PCS, I wrote a post about it Here and I wrote a little bit about it Here.
As a reader you might be thinking, why do I care? Maybe you’ve been fortunate enough to never have a concussion or to never know someone that has had a serious concussion but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening around you. That doesn’t mean that maybe someone in your life is battling their concussion symptoms without you even knowing about it. Maybe, there’s people close to you that have accepted living with symptoms because they haven’t been provided with the knowledge or diagnosis of PCS. By following along over the next week, you’ll gain a better understanding of what PCS is, what it’s like to live with PCS and how to prevent and treat PCS if you or someone you know is affected. Along with gaining a better perspective of PCS, you will also help to spread awareness.
Not only does this concussion week raise more awareness and attention towards mild traumatic brain injuries but it also allows the opportunity for individuals who have struggled or currently do struggle with this syndrome know that they are not alone and that there is hope. It helps to allow people on the outside of a concussion gain a better understanding of a circumstance that is hard to explain. Perhaps, if anything, this blog will allow an outlet, a sense of closure to the writers participating in this event. By creating more understanding and raising more awareness about PCS, hopefully the next person will not have to be sidelined from their life. Hopefully, the next person will have the knowledge to properly treat their symptoms from the start, they will receive better and more researched treatments, their circumstance will be better understood by society and better yet… there will be awareness to prevent PCS from arising in the first place.
So over the next week, take a minute. Follow along. Learn about PCS, what it is, what causes it and our current treatments. Appreciate the courage that it took for these individuals to share their story with us and the strength they had to rehabilitate their syndromes. Remember, it only takes a minute to remind ourselves that invisible injuries are still there beneath the surface.