Personal Narrative: My First Concussions Research Paper

Have you ever felt as though the whole world was spinning out of control and that you might go flying if you tried to stand, or have you ever felt the feeling of your brain rattling against your skull as a headache pounded its way into your forehead. That is the feeling of a concussion, and if lucky you are enough to have never experienced one just think of a jackhammer against cement. It is a constantly pounding, pulsating, and pulverizing sensation that demands all of your attention. Concussions are selfish.

They do not care about the project you have to finish or the phone call you have to make to your grandma because they dictate all of your actions, they have complete control of you regardless of what you have planned. I was still fourteen by the time I experienced my first concussion. The day was absolutely beautiful. The sun was scorching everyone’s skin as we all raced to my school’s dirt field searching for the shade the trees would throw across the ground, but the excitement that was building in everyone was by far more intense than the heat.

Today was the day that my class was allowed to play flag football, an event we had all been looking forward to since the start of the fourth quarter. The game was simple; there were no teams (but you could work together), each person started with four flags that could be stolen, and the player with the most flags at the end of the game wins. There were no rules against tackling, sliding, or diving, but the only instruction was to avoid injury. The first round was the hardest. I was tackled three times by several different football players, but I never lost a flag to them.

When the teacher finally called time, I had a limp and no new flags. If | was going to win this game I would need to team up with one of my classmates. I didn’t have many choices since all the athletes already partnered off, so I was left with my friend Dylan and a seventh grader who was about half the height of everyone else. I chose the seventh grader. We worked well together and managed to steal several flags from our opponents, but my partner rolled her ankle and decided to sit out the next round, so I was left without a partner again.

Before the teacher could start the next round I quickly made a deal with Dylan to work together. We had chosen to go after a soccer player since he had stolen flags from both of us in previous rounds. Our plan was to chase him to the soccer proportion of the field and then corner him, but it was poorly formulated idea. The soccer player had avoided both of our tackles, but Dylan and I were sure we would get him as he tried to run pass us again.

He jumped between us and both Dylan and I jumped to tackle him, but our heads we collided just as he slipped in between us again. The world had stopped moving as we fell from the force of the impact, it was like we were falling in slow motion. Our feet flew out from under us as we slipped on the piles of dead leaves, and our backs hit the ground with such a force that it had felt like someone had just punched all the air out of our lungs. My glasses had flown off my face from the collision leaving me staring at blurry branches that seemed to spin above me.

I immediately tried to stand, but it seemed like the ground didn’t want me to leave, and I felt gravity tugging on me as I toppled over again. My stomach twisted into a knot, and I knew I could not stand again. While waiting for my head to stop spinning, I stared at Dylan’s blurry form which was still sprawled out in the leaves, and I could only hear him murmur as he sat up. As | turned to see my teacher running towards us, I winced as I saw her nearly step on my glasses which had somehow managed to land a few meters from me.

I do not remember how I ended up at a picnic table with my glasses sitting crookedly on my face next to a boy whose speech was slurred and face bruised, but I do remember my teacher staring at us with a face carved from worried as she asked if we were okay. I had said I was fine, but Dylan was sent home due to the fact that he was not responding to his name. After the class had ended I staggered back to my homeroom where I had science. Everyone was working on their plastics projects, but as I tried to work on mine I found my fingers tripping over themselves as I clenched my eyes shut from a terrible headache that was forming.

I made it through the rest of the class while making zero progress on my project. The next class was not any better. I struggling to keep my balanced as I followed everyone to the seventh grade to view their projects, and nausea was pricking my stomach causing me to clutch my abdomen. My teacher pulled me to the side as everyone filed into the classrooms. “Are you okay, sweetie? ” She said in tone that was so concerned that I thought | might vomit. I hated this. I hated that people were staring at me like I was fragile, like I needed to be helped.

I felt tears start to sting my eyes, but I quickly blinked them away, tears would help nothing. I just nodded my head at her, but she wouldn’t believe me and sent me to the office once I nearly threw up. When | reached the office I started to cry, and at the time I didn’t know it was because concussion could cause mood swings. Tears were streaming down my face I looked at my teacher begging her not to call home while in my head I was trying to convince myself that I was perfectly fine. I was so ashamed of myself, and I didn’t understand why I could not stay.

I remember thinking that I was tougher than this, I should not let a little knock on the head keep me from working, and while I sat in the office sobbing and dizzy, the only I could think of was that I had disappointed someone. I had ruined someone’s day by making them worry, or I frustrated them with my stubbornness, or I could have irked them with my inability to stay focus, and I felt terrible about it. After I went to the doctor’s I was not allowed to return to school for the rest of the week, and I could not run the 5k I was training for that weekend.

I was devastated by the news, but as I spent the following days falling over from being to dizzy and almost taking an entire bottle of aspirin I realized it was for the best. Concussions are cruel. They make you feel like you’ll never be able to stand correctly again as you wobble on your legs and your brain spins, but their side effects are nothing to be ashamed of. While they are atrocious, they show us that people care. Concussions show us how tough we are, and they prove to us how we are able to back up stand when we are knocked down.