Starting the year with a bang

Tess tells story on dealing with a concussion

While watching NFL games, there are a lot of head injuries that take players out of the game.  I have always wondered why these athletes didn’t just suck it up and finish the game in order to win.  After having my own concussion, I finally understand the importance of concussion protocol and the severity of head injuries. 

Kieran Breslin, ’27, Tess Breslin, ’22, Maeve Breslin, ’18, and Cathleen Breslin, ’20, enjoy a family ski vacation in Breckenridge, Colorado. Picture by Fiona Breslin

As we all know, concussions are very common for contact sport athletes. However, you can receive a concussion through everyday activities. In my case, my concussion was caused by an embarrassing slip.  

When I tell most people that I got a concussion during a ski vacation, they assume it happened on the slopes. I wish that my story could have been that cool; sadly it wasn’t. After a long day of skiing, my family and I headed to get some food at the base of the mountain. While walking out of the restaurant with my ski boots on and helmet in hand, I slipped on the wet floor and fell. My head hit the hostess stand and then smacked the tile floor. 

I jumped up and rushed out the door, my face red from the embarrassment of causing a noisy scene.   I didn’t have any immediate symptoms except a big bump on my head, a bruised ego and a broken phone.  

However, the symptoms arrived with a vengeance by the next morning, and I was stuck in bed with a severe headache, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, ringing in the ears and a high sensitivity to light and noise.  Good thing my family, except my mom, ditched me for another day of skiing.

The strange thing about head injuries is that they are all so different and can follow different paths. My path was boring, nonlinear, and scary. Concussions stink.  Each day was a little different; sometimes there were improvements, and other days I felt worse than ever. Honestly, there are gaps of time that I don’t remember at all due to short term memory loss. What I do remember was that my parents were very worried about my injury.

Although each concussion is unique, the treatment plan is basically the same: rest. This required rest was also the most boring part: no phones, no screen time, and no brain activity. The only thing that the doctor allowed was listening to audiobooks, which helped break up the boredom but also put me to sleep.  

Honestly, I grew impatient and I tried to rush back to some of the restrictions. Whether it was sneaking onto Snapchat, watching Netflix, or trying to cram some homework in, it didn’t help and actually caused more headaches. 

I was stressed and nervous because I had so many papers and finals coming up, and I was falling behind in my schoolwork. I tried to complete some homework, but after 10 minutes, I had a splitting headache. Thankfully, my Wahlert teachers were so helpful with everything and offered to exempt some work and print off papers in order to limit screen time.

I wish I could tell you to just avoid getting a concussion, but injuries are inevitable and life happens. Whether a concussion or just a cold, listen to your body, take your rest and breathe. My advice is that in the end, everything will work out.