Playing Days Over: The Impact of Today’s Concussion Issue

Way back when, the possibility of concussions ending your playing days—high school, college or professional—were most likely along the lines of slight. It’s a different story these days. Playing through head trauma or being like the ‘cat with nine lives’ appears to be coming to an end. The risk is just too great. Maintaining a quality of life in one’s latter years is, to many, no longer an option.

Take the case of Bryson Williams in Prestonsburg, KY. He wasn’t 3rd on the depth chart. He “excelled on the football field at Prestonsburg High School, playing multiple positions.” Colleges were beginning to show an interest in him. But then, hit after hit began to take its toll.

It was his senior year when Williams “suffered the third concussion. Doctors urged Williams not to play college football. He took the advice seriously…”

Showing remarkable maturity, Williams said, “Just for health reasons. I’d rather be healthy than take a chance. It’s just like Dr. Burchett said, one more could hurt you externally and mess you up in the head.”

Peggy Haus, the Head Athletic Trainer at the University of the Cumberlands, points out that “concussions are often diagnosed after others see a change in an athlete’s behavior.”

She added, “Sometimes it takes someone else to say, ‘Hey, go check on Johnny because he’s not acting himself.'”

Williams, who understands completely the experience of playing under Friday night lights, offers this observation after turning in his cleats for the last time. “You got to have a backup plan,” he said. “You can’t always just focus your kid on playing D-1 football, because with just one hit that can all be taken away.”

Sounds like Williams is looking forward to a college education and the benefits it can bring. Our hats go off to you, Bryson Williams. May others take note of your wisdom.

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