In the beginning it was hard to find a lot of people to share real world examples of what I was trying to describe here on the blog. It is one thing to have the knowledge and experience but entirely another to parse that down to something people can grasp and understand.
Luckily I happened across a great person and advocate that was able and willing to share some stories that made this blog a little more personable. Her name is Tracy Yatsko and she is definitely not just a face in the crowd.
Recently she has joined the blog space with her very own called “Triumph over Trauma” and as she describes in her tag line;
Triumph Over Trauma is a website/blog devoted to concussion victims, survivors, and their families to hopefully lead them into the right direction of recovery, give them hope through stories of others who have struggled yet triumphed, and give them the one thing the concussion community lacks or can’t find: Support.
Last June, I had the pleasure of speaking at a press conference at Lincoln Financial Field in support of Pennsylvania State Representative Tim Briggs’ proposed concussion management legislation. I was an eighteen-year old who had been researching concussions in sports for nearly ten months at that point—a task that I engaged in to further educate myself and others on the subject at hand; a project that would essentially close many doors in my past that had been left open for too long. But as I situated myself beside the podium at this press conference, I had no idea what kind of story the young woman sitting to my left had to say. Of course, throughout my research, I understood that others have been through worse—much worse—than what I had experienced, but never did I think I would meet someone I could relate to. It was even more than just relating to, for this individual shared a heartbreaking story to the public. She was at the press conference for the same reason as myself, and that was to promote the need for concussion legislation in our state, but she did more than that. Her words were more than the cover to a bill. Her words were the voice of the sports concussion crisis.
Today, Tracy Yatsko, a twenty-three-year old woman from Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, is still fighting the repercussions of an injury that ended her high school athletic career. Six years removed from the moment of her last concussion, Yatsko represents the qualities of strength and motivation, for her battle has not been one that has been easy. Sure, I have heard of stories in which athletes have sustained decisively fatal blows to the head. But when I talk to this woman, and when I think about her story, the only words that I can describe how I have perceived her story is hell on earth. Why did this situation in which Yatsko found herself within come to be?
2005 was a year, with regards to concussion awareness, that was still present in the sports’ ‘Era of Good Feelings.’ There was not much to worry about, and though there were stories creeping out of the media regarding concussions in football, there was not much of a worry in other athletic activities. There really wasn’t much consideration as to what a concussion was. It was merely an injury that was ignorantly summarized as a headache; a distraction; a joke. And with such stigma comes tides of the familiar phrase that claims pain to be weakness leaving the body. Only did we, or rather, do we, come to open our eyes to what a concussion is until the moment of a tragedy personally affects ourselves or those who we consider to be close to us. Continue reading →
Tracy Yatsko, 23, a former basketball star at Tamaqua Area High School until a head injury ended her playing career in 2005, told a crowd in the Capitol rotunda that “this bill should not be about safety and politics. It should be about our safety and protection. We deserve action.”
Shannon Walsh has posted a two-part story about Marquette soccer player Scott Miller and his decision to forgo his senior season due to concussions. The stories have been posted on TopDrawerSoccer.com (LINK to Part I) and are very informative, well worth your time. Here are some excerpts;
In April 2010, Miller collided with a goalkeeper against Northern Illinois(m), leaving him with a broken nose and concussion. Though Miller experienced symptoms of the concussion, he decided not to tell the team medical staff or coaches, and was cleared to play ten days later against Milwaukee(m) in the Wisconsin Cup.
“That was the biggest mistake of my career at Marquette,” Miller said of his decision to play against UWM. “I told the team doctor and coaches that I felt normal and would be ready to play. Going into the game against UWM, I did not feel well but decided to play. It was one decision that if I had done differently probably would have saved my career.”
Underlining the need for awareness and education, Miller exemplifies exactly the stigma associated with concussions. In retrospect Continue reading →