Dazed and Confused

        Brain-in-HelmetWhen the crack like thunder rang through the plastic helmet, placed upon the head of Luke Hamann, his life changed forever.

        Luke Hamann, a senior at Lincoln Lutheran, has had a long list of concussion turmoil that has expanded over the past four years. Luke received his first concussion his freshman year on a Friday night at Nebraska Wesleyan’s football stadium, playing the sport he loved: Football. “It was a hard hit from the left,” Luke stated in an interview; “I remember waking up the next morning with a pounding headache.” He went on to explain how everything around him felt “fuzzy” and described himself as “dazed and confused.”

        Unfortunately for Luke, this would not be his last scary encounter with an injury to the brain. Luke received another concussion his sophomore year, and what Luke states as his “most severe” concussion during his junior football season.

        “I was already a little scared about my head,” Luke admitted thinking back to his junior year. Luke explained how after the impact to his frontal lobe, images became blurry. He started seeing double and lights became overwhelmingly bright.

        According to Kyle Younkin, Athletic Trainer at Lincoln Lutheran, this is a body’s natural reaction. Kyle explained how during a concussion (mild brain trauma injury), the soft tissue brain is actually bouncing off against the walls of the inside of the head. The Jell-O like brain can get squished as it hits the inside of the skull skewing the lines of signals transferring from the eyes to the brain while damaging blood vessels and nerves. Kyle exclaimed how “a concussion should be taken seriously. Once the nerves are damaged, you will never be fully the same as you were before the incident, no matter how long you recover.”

        The world appears to be becoming more informed on the topic of concussions. Recent studies on ex-NFL players’ brains in correlation to early death have been a topic rising in the news and are the backing behind the recently released movie “Concussion” staring Will Smith.

        While it may be interesting to watch a movie about concussions, Luke and many others realize that this is no laughing matter. Luke revealed an extreme sensitivity to the topic of concussions. The impacts on his head have impacted his life. Luke admitted that he now thinks, acts, and talks differently than before the incident and regrets having to spend almost half of his high school football career on the sidelines because of the injury.

        Luke is not the only student at Lincoln Lutheran who has suffered from the effects of a concsuion. After many years of teaching Chris Deeter has seen the dramatic effects on students, furthermore his own son. “I kept him out,” Deeter explained.  Mr. Deeter’s son, Alex, received a concussion while playing the dangerous sport of football. Deeter continued to explain how many students may not have the athletic ability giving them a chance to become professional athletes and playing on the television on Friday nights, but maybe they do have a chance at becoming doctors or engineers. “Your brain is special,” stated Deeter continuing on to say, “your future is more important than some game on Friday night.”

        Concussions carry lasting effects on their victims damaging the brains and the nerves and blood vessels incase within. Hopefully the acknowledgement of the issue will encourage kids to play safe and keep their future in mind so they do not end up sitting on the sideline of life.

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