I remember days after games when Xavier could barely make it down the stairs, he would have to walk down sideways just to get down three stairs. He would take a day or in some cases a half a day to rest and he would be back in the gym. These were the signs I could physically see where the game left its mark. It wasn’t long after we met that his mental health took a downward spiral. I remember speaking to girlfriends who told me “He’s not acting right, you need to get away.” I stood there looking at the man I loved, the man who had the biggest heart of anyone I knew, the man who made me laugh and one of the only people who truly believed I was able to do more. I couldn’t just give up. I knew that the way he was acting wasn’t him, that there had to be more.Read More
No matter how long you play, or how short of a term you have playing professional football, everyone goes out that exact same way. “Thanks for everything you did for the team, good luck in the future.” It was a really hard concept for me to grasp. I wish it sank in sooner that that’s the way it was going to be. You hear it as a young player but you don’t want to believe it, don’t want to accept that that is the reality.Read More
This concussion was particularly difficult – and a prime example of how each concussion is different. The first concussion I had struggled with the physical aspect; the fogginess, haziness and difficulty concentrating. But this one took an emotional toll on me. Physically I healed much faster with this one, within about a month the headaches subsided. But the emotional side effects lasted much longer. I had put myself under immense stress and pressure but the concussion exacerbated my mental state. I had heightened anxiety, moments of depression, large amounts of self-doubt, mood swings, and even a few panic attacks. I was frustrated, because I felt physically normal, but emotionally I was drained. However, I suppressed these feelings and continued on insisting that “I’m fine”. I finally came to the realization that I wasn’t fine, and that that was okay.Read More
The world needs to catch up with the effects of concussions and break down the stigma. I dealt with a lot of wrath, a lot of scrutiny, and at times had to be dealt with delicately due to the fragile subject. It was not an easy thing for me to share, but I put myself to the way side and wanted to think of others. I have received so many messages from people I don’t even know thanking me for coming out about my struggles, stating they feel the same way, but feel alone. That was my biggest fear - the feeling of knowing no one understands what’s going on in my head.Read More
My last concussion was June 4th 2010. This was my 6th concussion, which occurred while waterskiing and had a major impact on my life. Although it has been 8 years since my accident, I can close my eyes and it feels like just yesterday that everything fell apart.Read More
I tried to take charge of my recovery. I had my mom write down all my symptoms and keep track of what I did that day. But in the first few weeks, this didn’t really matter because doing nothing made my symptoms worse and since I was already doing nothing, I couldn’t really do anything less. So after two weeks of my symptoms not improving I became one of the 35% who don’t recover in the first two weeks.Read More
Unfortunately, I now sit on the couch watching my former teammates play in the CFL instead of lining up against them. My decision to try to be tough and play through concussions put an abrupt and unexpected end to my football career.
Up until 2012 I never let the fact that I was the little guy on the field make me feel small. That feeling was reserved for people who couldn’t take a hit, couldn’t bounce back up and couldn’t deal with the pain and physical nature of contact sports. I worked too hard to put myself in a position to succeed to ever feel small. At least that was true until 202012 when I suffered several severe concussions that made me realize just how small I could feel.Read More
Embrace. Life’s. Detours.
Repeat this phrase three times.
Write it down.
Make it your mantra.Read More
Twenty-one years after sustaining a severe traumatic brain injury, head injury surrounds Claire Smith’s once again. This time however, it’s a choice; she can use her own experiences to help other survivors, as well as their families, caregivers, and friends.Read More
On May 27th, Ottawa local Brent Sullivan will run the Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon. But unlike many of the other participants, Brent will be running for a cause beyond his own fitness, pleasure, or competitive spirit. Instead, Brent is running as an ambassador for the Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada to help raise funds for concussion outreach, education, and awareness.Read More
Katie is a seasoned marathoner - 5 so far with two more planned over the next few months. But this year the Ottawa Marathon will be a lot more personal for Katie. This year she is running with her brother in mind. Katie’s brother Michael recently sustained his second concussion and is now on the road to recovery, uncertain of just how long his recovery will be this time around.Read More
My name is Michael Corneau. I am 18 years old and I currently suffer from Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS). I am an avid hockey fan, a supporter, and a former player. I played competitive hockey for the majority of my career. I just loved the competition of driving around Eastern Ontario, the rivalries with certain teams, scoring that game-winning goal in the final seconds of the third period to put my team ahead, and doing it all with friends I’ve competed with my entire life.Read More
I didn't realize how much I didn't like looking back on my concussion until I started writing this, but I want this to help people. I want people to understand what it's like to have a concussion, not just what it is. Maybe this will help someone understand what a teammate, a friend, or family member is going through. Maybe this will help someone that has a concussion know that they are not alone and that one day, they will beat this.Read More