Try to imagine a loud bell constantly ringing in your ears and feeling as though you are almost drowning in the sound. You cannot think any thoughts or speak any words; all you can do is lie down and close your eyes. I sustained four separate concussions during freshman and sophomore year in high school, and throughout my rough recovery, I had to learn to endure and overcome this incessant sensation of a ringing bell inside my head.
Athletics came to a sudden stop when I suffered concussions in cross country and soccer. Sports were my entire world and the passion that I had for them was indescribable. I lived for the feeling of running down the field, scoring a goal or reaching the finish line after a long race. It never crossed my mind that any injury could force me off the field and trails, and ultimately confine me to my bed for months.
Instead of playing with my teammates I found myself watching from the sidelines longing for the part of my life that I had lost. Once I received my fourth concussion, I temporarily forgot my name, birthday and address. For a long time it was hard for me to even read a book at a fifth grade level. I felt incompetent compared to my classmates and often was made fun of for being the slowest person in class.
No one seemed to understand how hard it was for me to remember simple things, leading me to the ultimate low point of my life. My teachers became frustrated from having to constantly remind me what to do just five minutes after they originally told me. I soon realized that I needed to work twice as hard to keep up with my classmates to make it through school.
It took me almost all of junior year to recover from the concussions I sustained the previous years before and the process was one of the hardest struggles I have had to ever overcome. I have learned that no matter what there is no point where anyone should give up or let a event stop them from still succeeding. Many student athletes today view concussions as a minor injury and usually try to brush it off, but that can be one of the most dangerous things to do. After my second concussion I could not brush it off and concussions damaged me to the extent of changing my life.
Perhaps school becoming harder for me worked in my advantage and provided me with a wake up call to remember that I should always try and give my 100 percent. This low point in my life did cause me pain, but ended up bringing out the true person that I am today. I never imagined that I would say this, but I am grateful for the lessons I have learned, and the person I have become from my concussions.
– By Mary Frances Scholle