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“None of us is as smart as all of us.”

27 Apr

The quote in the title is a Japanese proverb, I have read it most recently in a very good book call “The Red Circle” by Brandon Webb; a biography of a Navy SEAL (you can learn a lot from these heroes).  As with most proverbs you can take the meaning and apply it to whatever you want.  In this case we are talking about concussions: awareness, education, assessment, recovery, treatment, etc.

One thing that I hope comes through is that I do not feel that I am a “be-all-end-all” expert, rather I am a devoted husband and father that is an athletic trainer that chooses to spend time paying it forward – so to speak.  I have been asked many times why this blog is here and there are many answers to said question but the underlying reason is simple: raise awareness and bring together all who care to create more understanding and better protection from this brain injury.

The simple fact is that we have only just begun to really understand the concussion injury, each episode (aptly coined by Xenith) is unique; not only from age-group to age-group but from person to person.  We know that males and females react differently, we know that youth and adolescent brains are much more susceptible to lingering effects than an adult brain, we know OR SHOULD KNOW there is no magic pill or course of action to prevent concussions other than living in a bubble, we know that there are very smart people out there with good ideas, we know that information can be controlled by many sources for many reasons, and we really should understand and know that the actual injury is not the elephant in the room, it is how it is handled from the beginning of the process.

Concussions are a process not an event; as soon as the injury occurs what happens next is what shapes the individual brain for eternity, yes eternity.

Where am I going with this?  Continue reading

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Drew is ready for College

5 Mar

Drew Fernandez is the son of Tracey Mayer – one of our Parent Advocates – and like John Gonoude a person that has overcome the stigma of concussion.  Not only is it a real brain injury, not treating it correctly can have life long effects for more people than we care to admit.  As Drew finds time he will send us updates, we hope this avenue will help him as well.

Over the past week, two really great things happened in regard to my upcoming freshman year in college at Illinois State University.  The first was having my request for formal academic accommodations approved, based on my medical condition of suffering from migraines, as a result of a severe concussion.  My parents and I were overjoyed with receiving the email notifying us with such amazing news.

Secondly, based on my outstanding academics, I received a letter from Illinois State University inviting me to compete for the University scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships available to new freshmen at ISU.  It is designed for academically talented, new freshmen from traditionally underrepresented groups or first generation college students who have overcome hardship in achieving their academic goals.  I did not receive this scholarship, however when you don’t receive one scholarship, they put your entry in the run for other potential scholarships.  Catching me by surprise, I was awarded a Redbird Academic Scholarship, renewable for up to four years.

Both of these things are especially significant because ISU acknowledged that what I have gone through is real.  Having them validate it is really important, not only for me, but for all other student athletes who suffer from post-concussive issues.

This is what I had written for my scholarship entry; Continue reading

A Concussion Survivor

16 Nov

Drew is the son of Tracey Mayer – one of our Parent Advocates – and like John Gonoude a person that has overcome the stigma of concussion.  Not only is it a real brain injury, not treating it correctly can have life long effects for more people than we care to admit.  As Drew finds time he will send us updates, we hope this avenue will help him as well.

When my mom asked me to write for the blog, I knew instantly that I was interested but the first few times I sat down to write about it, things became tougher for me than I had thought.  Although I have had so much support and worked on moving forward from my freshman incident, this whole situation continues to be a sensitive topic for me to talk about.

As my senior year progresses, everything has been moving more smoothly than ever.  Starting off the year I still continued to set my standards high; to keep improving in my classes.  Just in case I needed a little GPA boost, I had taken a couple AP classes for the first time in my 4 years of high school – unlike many of my friends who decided to have a blow off schedule.  This was more of something that would just Continue reading

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