Today, my medical records arrived and as I reading over notes written by doctors back during my childhood and adolescence years it showed itself. My sophomore and junior years playing football never revealed any symptoms so I carried on with life as if everything was okay. It wasn’t.
High school football is a highlight. For most of us the game ends after that fourth year. A brotherhood is left behind but stays in tact. The fun was like non other and we were willing to trade our lives for the game… and we did.
Me, just a broken ankle, bruised thigh, fractured wrist, not to forget that vicious illegal hit to my lower back. George had his rotator cuff torn, took his time off, put a donut on and came back. Justin tore his all as well as Jad. I could go on forever with the injuries. Those injuries were evident and therefore all we cared about.
But, according to the doctors report my sophomore and junior year I sustained a more serious injury that I myself were never informed of. An injury that has caused people to behave outside the norm later in life. An injury that lurks in the shadows and gains strength as we continue to collide.
My initial reaction was stoically shocked when I read the notes stating that two years in a row football has been the culprit of the severe nosebleeds I sustained. Consistent with head trauma from helmet to helmet hits.
Being a hemophiliac playing contact sports not advised by doctors but what are we to do when our hearts are tied up between the hashes. It’s a growing problem we are faced with today. Whether it’s dehydration, brain trauma, paralysis etc… we welcomed the possibility in exchange to play the sport we loved.
Across the high school ranks in America there’s a football related death almost every year. It’s unfortunate for the parents who suffer these tragic losses, but for us on the field it’s not a thought(we lie about injuries just to keep playing). We welcome the hit, we welcomed the heat, we welcome the trauma out of love for the sport.
Parents of fallen players you did nothing wrong and do not blame yourselves. Parents of severely injured players you did nothing wrong and do not blame yourselves.
To my millions of high school brethren of the past and present you know nothing felt better than trading our house keys for shoulder pads and a helmet. We welcomed every injury we suffered. There was no second guessing, we were all in.
We were in love with the sport so we welcomed the trauma.
April 19, 2017