So I turn 32 today. It’s kind of a non-age. In my mind, 33 is a bit of a milestone, 30 is an obvious milestone, but 32, that’s nothing. Of course, I couldn’t care less either way. Age means very little to me now, but I guess this is as good a day as any for me to reminisce/write about the past 9 years (8 years and 9 months, actually) and where I am now.
I’m fairly surprised about how happy I am now and how good I feel. On this day 9 years ago, I was with a friends in London, ON, on a inter-term break from my Master’s program (in Public Administration – MPA) from the University of Victoria. The next day, I would get picked up in Toronto and would get a ride to the Ottawa River, near Cobden, to go whitewater rafting for the weekend (along with about 15 more friends). Good times!
I then went back to Victoria for term 2 of my MPA program and I continued training for triathlon, a sport I tried for the first time in January of that same year. Three months later, I crashed into a tree and my life changed.
I just finished SlaughterhouseFive by Kurt Vonnegut. It’s about Billy Pilgrim, an optometrist in Ileum, New York who was a World War II POW in Dresden, Germany when it was fire bombed (Vonnegut, himself, was a POW in World War II in Dresden in Schlachthof Fünf (Slaughterhouse Five). He, like his future character, Billy Pilgrim, was there during the bombing in February 1945). After the war (in human time – more on that further down) he becomes an optometrist, has a wife, daughter and son, and is abducted by aliens to their planet of Tralfamadore and ends up with an ability to haphazardly time travel within his life. It’s funny and makes its anti-war points through satire. This is not a book review, I just figured I would give a general overview of the book before I launched into an exhortation about my brain injury and the Tralfamadorian view of life.
The Tralfamadorian view kind of relates to my point that I wouldn’t change a thing about my being brain injured because it leads me to where I am now. The Tralfamadorian view of life is that no one ever dies, they just jump around to different parts of their life and that things that happen will always happen and have always happened. By no means am I saying that I can travel through time Continue reading →
Nick Mercer is a guest author and his original blog can be found at concussiontalk.com. Nick is a survivor of TBI using his experiences to educate and opine about current issues in the realm of concussions. Nick has presented on these issues in his native Canada as well. Enjoy!
On Sunday I watched the Denver Broncos score 10 points in a little over 2 minutes to tie the Chicago Bears and then win in overtime. This is an impressive comeback, but it wouldn’t be so believably unbelievable had it not involved the Broncos and their quarterback Tim Tebow. Last week Chuck Klosterman wrote an excellent article on www.grantland.com entitled The People Who Hate Tim Tebow and he tries to find out why Tim Tebow is so fascinating to other people and why he’s so polarizing. Klosterman inevitably talks about faith and belief. I think the reason a nice, genuine guy is so polarizing are very similar to explaining concussions and brain injury in sports.
Tim Tebow is the Broncos quarterback and seems to lack most of the apparently ‘essential’ skills of the modern-day NFL QB. Football purists and many former players are quick to note his lack of skill, his inability to make accurate passes and his reliance on running and scrambling. Continue reading →
I was at the game in Boston on Saturday, November 12, 2011, so I saw the play in which Milan Lucic crushed goalie Ryan Miller. Immediately there was a quick groan in the crowd around me. My friends know the seriousness of major strikes to the head better than most people, so they could see how bad the hit was and how much it could affect Miller.
After the immediate shock of the hit, the crowd went crazy. There was long and sustained loud cheering for Lucic and jeering of the Buffalo players for their reaction. There was also intense booing of the 2 minute penalty assigned to Lucic for the hit. This was followed by equally intense cheering as Milan Lucic was celebrated in a video shown on the scoreboard screen, profiling his big hits and physical style of play. It seemed the fans couldn’t be prouder. Of course, there is a whole separate debate among hockey players and media about goalies being able to play a puck outside of their respective, claustrophobic creases.
I was brain injured in 2003 while cycling in Victoria, BC. Concussions are also known as mild traumatic brain injuries and while what I sustained was a coma-inducing severe traumatic brain injury, from what I hear, and what makes sense to me, there seem to be many overlapping symptoms. I read about how Marc Savard has “post-concussion” symptoms and I’m really wondering why they call them post-concussion symptoms and why I always say ‘I was brain injured’. I guess the major traumatic blow to my head is a thing of the past, so, on a technicality, I can get away with saying “was brain injured”, but plain logic is enough to tell you that you don’t have symptoms from an injury that doesn’t exist. I still have major symptoms and even though you can’t see my injury just by looking at me today, doesn’t mean that my brain has completely healed. Some parts of my brain seem unaffected, but Continue reading →
Nick Mercer a contributor of The Concussion Blog and author of ConcussionTalk was recently in Newfoundland giving a talk about recovery from concussions. He was part of Newfoundland and Labrador Brain Injury Association meeting. We value what Nick has to say and feel that if you have time you should view the following videos (3 parts). And visit his blog for the videos of Dr. Falah Maroun, neurosurgeon.
(Project Brain Wave) In June, the Newfoundland and Labrador Brain Injury Association, of which I am on the Board, is holding a symposium-type event to discuss brain injury, who it affects and how we think we can help people in the province. I have been asked to talk about my experiences, so now, I am writing and gathering ideas – from previous posts on this blog and from my mind – so that I can talk about my brain injury, my recovery and the struggles and opportunities that have come out of my experiences. I have named my talk: (Brain injury) Recovery experiences, challenges and new opportunities. Now it’s just a matter of putting this all together.
Before my brain injury I wasn’t a very confident speaker, but once I got going, my nervousness would disguise itself as confidence and I could ramble and bullshit my way through a lot. I have almost the opposite problem now; Now, my speech belies my confidence (this is unfortunately true in more situations than public speaking) and there’s a lot for me to talk about on this subject.
I am very excited about talking about this and I’ve got to make some decisions to keep the audience interested. Here’s the way I see it:
Most people reading this blog are my friends and you may be interested to hear my thoughts because most of you knew me before I was injured and want to know how I feel now and what’s changed for me personally. I can’t thank you enough for your support during and since. Thanks so much everyone!
You’re the audience for this blog, not for my talk in June. That talk is for people who — Continue reading →
We would like to welcome our newest writer, coming over from concussiontalk.com and hailing from the North, eh! The views from him coming from a person that follows non-traditional ‘American’ sports will be a huge asset. Without further delay…
I guess I should start with a very brief intro. In the summer of 2003 I was cycling, flew off my bike and hit a tree with my head. My helmet did its job – or else I wouldn’t be here – nonetheless, I ended up in a coma for two weeks and had a severe traumatic brain injury. I like to think that my experience allows me a unique perspective on what has become a central issue in sports – concussion and brain injury.
Sports have always been a big part of my life (not that I was star, but I was ok) and I’ve tried many. That said, I am from – and still live – in Canada and have never played a game of hockey. In fact, I think the last time I skated was probably 19 years ago. Winter has never been my season (just as well, since my balance problems persisting from my brain injury certainly limit my participation in basically every winter sport). However, I used to really like picking off friends with snowballs (I still like to, but my range is more restricted, so it’s easier for them to avoid a hit).
But I digress…
When Americans parody Canada’s obsession with hockey, they’re probably under-selling it. Hockey means so much to Continue reading →