Awareness about concussions have spiked over the past couple of years. With the controversies with the NFL and more research regarding brain injuries, it would be impossible to not have heard of concussions before. A concussion is a brain injury that occurs due to a hit to the head. Its awareness is growing, especially in sports such as football and soccer.  I got my first concussion from horseback riding, and I had three other concussions that have followed-each worse than the last. The worst concussion lasting up to thirteen weeks. Here are some of the things that I have learned as a result having four concussions. 

Concussions Get Worse Each Time

Sadly, each time you get a concussion it takes less impact to have more symptoms. I went from falling off of a horse landing head first into the ground with only a headache, to hitting my head getting out of my car with too many symptoms to count. Symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and "fogginess" lasting upwards of six weeks. Once you start getting concussions, you have to be careful for the rest of your life. 

No, People With Concussions Are Not Faking It

Kristine Mahan

While it may look like someone with a concussion is fine, most symptoms are hard to pick up in day to day situations. Not everything regarding a concussion is black and white. People tend to have dizziness, slowness of thought, headaches, and more when they are diagnosed with a concussion. A lot of these symptoms are hard to see with the naked eye. 

Binge Studying is a Blessing

notes, textbook, study snack, snacks, studying, clif bar, tangerine, cutie
Jocelyn Hsu

The amount of times I have been wanting to sit down and catch up on all my work is incredible. Last semester I couldn't count how many times I complained about having to study for hours on end, but now I am craving a study session. Work piles up, but every time I try and cram for an exam the symptoms get worse. Studying for only ten minutes at a time gets tedious after a while. 

You Find Out Who Your Real Friends Are

With my first concussion lasting thirteen weeks and my most recent one going onto of six weeks next Sunday, I ended up missing a lot of stuff. Its hard to go out with the flashing lights and loud music. Even trying to follow a conversation with more than one person was difficult. These were the times that I figured out who my real friends are; the ones who took notes for me when I had to miss class or watched movies with me on a Saturday night while everyone else was out. 

No Sport is Worth Brain Injuries

I was a competitive horseback rider from the age of nine. I was riding six days a week, spending 3+ hours and the barn each day. Riding was apart of who I was. After receiving three concussions from falling off the horse, I eventually had to give it all up. While this was devastating at the time, one year later I realized how stupid I was to think my life was going to stop. I ended up finding a lot of other things that I love, stuff that I would not have found if I continued pursuing a career in horseback riding. Life doesn't stop if you have to quit your sport, and no sport is worth brain injuries. 

Family is Everything

pizza, cake
Mary-Kate Brunk

Your family are the only people you know definitely have your back. A lot of people loose patience with you having to miss everything. Its hard to understand what a concussion is like, especially if the person with a concussion looks fine. Your family are the only people that will truly understand what it is like, and have your back through everything. 

Concussions suck. There is no doubt about it. Especially if they are lasting weeks, even months. You can get through it with the help of friends and family.

No matter what, wear a helmet.