By: Boot Bullwinkle
On Jan. 20, I was playing goalie in a soccer match against Homestead High School. After making a diving save, I suffered a traumatic brain injury due to a kick in the face from an opposing forward. At least, that is what I’m told.
I lost all memory from the game and the previous week of school. That week was finals week, so I spent the following week getting back tests that I had no recollection of taking. People still ask me what it’s like to have lost such a large chunk of my memory, and it’s hard to describe. I didn’t feel scared or confused per se, but it felt as though I had woken up from a deep sleep and then read a book about what had happened.
My memory wasn’t the least of my worries; it was my history that really concerned me. It was my third concussion and the worst one by far. For those who don’t know me that well, soccer is a significant portion of my life. I have dreams of playing in college and continuing my career and passion for a long as possible. But now I was faced with the likelihood of never returning to competitive play again.
During the first week, I fell into a significant depression. I wasn’t able to form sentences, and I was only able to attend three classes a day. Even then, major migraines made those classes almost unbearable, and I was often on the brink of tears. I wasn’t even able to go watch my team practice. The only thing that kept me sane was the ability to watch our games despite the pain that the light brought me due to my sensitivity. It was limited involvement, and that was difficult for me to get used to.
A week later, I went in to get evaluated on the extent of the brain damage I had suffered. After my computed tomography (CT) scan, my mom and I attempted to play doctor. We looked at countless images of my brain trying to determine the slightest abnormality and found about five tumors (this, of course, was based on extensive research through watching the television shows, “House” and “Scrubs”). Luckily, we went to see a professional the next day who had better results than our deductions.
According to the doctor, I would have to sit out the remainder of the season, but I would return to soccer. Now, I know the normal response would be to act overly ecstatic and break out into song like I was in a Disney movie, but that wasn’t for me. I spent the season going to every practice, trying to help wherever I could, but I also watched as our Central Coast Section playoff hopes slowly dwindled.
I couldn’t help but feel responsible for the team’s demise. I know that sounds silly, but I felt like it was my time to help the team do something great. We were well on pace when I suffered my injury, but it eventually came to the last game of the season against league champions, Mountain View. A tie or a win would have propelled us into the playoffs.
It wasn’t meant to be this year. We lost 2-0, and thus our season ended with an early uniform return. Still, I can’t help but be excited that I will be able to don the number 0 for one more year here at Gunn, and that my dreams in soccer can still be achieved.