I grew up in Patriot Nation, where football is life. I have loved football for as long as I can remember. With the Super Bowl approaching, I wanted to share how football has changed for me since Isabella’s Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). Prior to Isabella’s ABI I didn’t even know what a concussion was let alone the aftermath of one. Quite honestly I didn’t even know what a brain injury was. It is embarrassing to admit that.
When Isabella got sick with sudden acute encephalitis, the reality of life with a brain injury was overwhelming. That naïve view I had on football was forever changed. The realization of what a concussion is (a brain injury) and what that means to someone’s life made it difficult to enjoy the sport I grew up loving. Those hits in football that looked bad before now had a new meaning. I now know with each hit to the head that lives can be changed. That innocence I once had about football is now gone.
The first two years of Isabella’s ABI, I struggled with my love of football. How could I love a sport that puts others at great risk? How could I stomach watching hit after hit knowing that all it takes is just one to change a life? What I came to realize is that we all take risks in life. We take a risk when we play a sport, when we drive, when we go on a plane etc. Some people chose to take greater risks. While I may not always agree with the risks they take at the end of the day it is always their choice.
I still love the sport of football. I have a new found respect for those that leave the game injured and stay on the sidelines. I admire those that walk away from the sport they love because of their health. I cringe when I hear a professional athlete brag about playing with concussions and/or purposely deceiving the system. I wonder what message that sends to our children. Some will call for an end to football. I don’t think that is necessary. I think ensuring the right rules and guide lines are in place is the key. The hard part is making sure that they are followed.
How has sports changed for you since your experience with brain injury?
Guest Blogger, Kristin Olliney-Apruzzese, is the mother of 8-year-old Isabella, who suffered sudden acute encephalitis when she was just 4. Kristin’s bi-monthly blog, Mommy of a Miracle, talks about the trials and joys of raising a brain injury survivor.
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