Editor's Note: A Concussed Brotherly Game

There was no blood, no bruise, not even a bump. Not a sprain, no strain, no fracture and no break. Yet the injury was scarier than the time I had managed to get a rusty fishing hook nearly through my right thumb. Two weeks later, the symptoms have finally subsided, but the grim possibilities of future problems remain.

The Brotherly Game has been quiet for the last two weeks, something certainly unusual for this site. Since the Philadelphia Union's 2-1 loss at home to the Houston Dynamo, there have been few articles published upon these pages. The reasoning behind this recent lessening of output is that a concussion has hampered my abilities to both read and write for the last two weeks.

As stated in the opening paragraph, the concussion was a frightful time for myself. There was never truly a risk of a long time occurrence of the post-concussion symptoms that came about, but the short term affects were bad enough. This was my first ever concussion, probably the most serious of an injury I've ever had, and it was considered 'mild' by the doctors that I saw for diagnosis and recovery.

Any Union fan that is on Twitter has seen, multiple times, color commentator Taylor Twellman talk about there not being a 'mild' concussion, since every single one is severe enough to affect cognitive functions, whether it only being a slight bump to the head or an unconscious fall to the ground.

In my case, it was a chair and the headboard of a bed. Looking back on the experience, I'd like to say that I at least suffered the concussion in some other way, but I cannot. A leg on the rolling chair I was sitting on snapped, pulling me downward with the remaining 99 percent of the chair, directly into the headboard of my dorm room bed. 

There was no blackout, no bruising, no bump and no loss of consciousness. At first I thought I simply had some sort of whiplash and nothing else. Perhaps just a bit dazed from the impact. Monitoring my movements, I decided there was no reason to go to the doctor then. I thought there was no way that this incident had caused a concussion. Still, I laid down, turned off the lights, closed the shades and made sure that I woke up every couple of hours. Just to be safe.

The next morning brought on some discomfort, a little sensitivity to light and sound, but nothing that really made me think anything was wrong. I spent most of the day watching movies with friends. "Shaolin Soccer" started off the marathon, which ended with the incredibly weird "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."

My parents called and insisted that I go to the campus health center to see a doctor to make sure that I was indeed not concussed. I made the trek (maybe 1000 feet) to the health center and made it in before it closed to the night. I saw the doctor on duty shortly thereafter, and he went through the typical concussion neurological exams. Finishing the last of the tests, he told me that I had suffered a mild concussion.

I was surprised, to say the least, since I wasn't "off" much at all. I wouldn't know until the next day that the symptoms may not appear at first, and can get worse from day-to-day.

First came very bad sensitivity to light, then to sound, then head pains. The only way I can describe the affect of every single possible stimuli on my brain is that it felt like someone was taking my brain and squeezing it like a stress ball.

Writing and reading caused the worst amounts of pain and stress on my brain, and solace was only found from watching movies from at least 10 feet away from the screen. I got to watch "Deer Hunter" and "Full Metal Jacket" for the first time, which I'd say was a quality positive, but not enough to get past the pain, sensitivity and general daze I semed to be in for at least a week.

It's always worrying when I can't write. Since a young age I've been able to write without much trouble, and whenever I cannot write it scares me in a way unlike anything else. My brain hurting whenever I tried to type out a thought was extremely painful in more ways than the physical kind.

A week later, I had started feeling better, but my cognitive functions still weren't close to being back to normal. Grasping for words, hearing myself garble phrases - it was surreal. Walking around a block took me ten minutes because every falling leaf, every slight breeze and every shadow would affect my brain in a different way. 

Today, nearly two weeks after originally suffering the concussion, I'm able to read and write, but only in limited time quantities. My typing is not up to speed, my thoughts still sometimes a mess and my speaking not nearly back to what it used to be. However, there are some positives that I've seen since my writing and reading capabilities returned. No sensitivity to light or noise, I move properly without any cognitive problems and I was able to run nearly two miles with interval speeds last night.

I'm hoping to get back into my typical routine soon enough, but this experience will always be with me. 

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