Once you get your first concussion, you're prone to getting more in the future.
That's a lesson linebacker Byron Brown learned this week. On the opening kickoff of the second half last Saturday at Southern Miss, Brown went full speed ahead and was dragged down by an opposing player, knocking him out.
It was his second concussion in as many games, as he sustained one on a kickoff return against UCF. Brown has never had any sort of head injury playing football before.
"I hit it full-speed running," Brown said. "But it wasn't the initial hit that got me, it was the guy dragging me down."
Looked back on film, Brown said the guy should have been called for a holding penalty. Brown was trying to hit the wedge and those players are just supposed to block, not drag down players.
Brown was immediately taken to a local Hattiesburg hospital. He was well enough to fly home with the team.
Brown did not practice today. He wore a hoodie over his head, as one of the symptoms of concussions is light sensitivity.
When he was taken to the hospital, Brown said doctors did a bunch of impact tests and asked him questions to determine the severity of the concussion.
"Those tests give me headaches," Brown said. "I've actually had them on-and-off [since Saturday], but haven't had one today."
Brown is said to be out for at least two weeks, but with head injuries, you never really know.
"The person that I am, I feel like I'd be ready [to play] this week," he said. "But I've really been thinking about the dangers of concussions now that it's happened twice. You start thinking, ‘Wow, my career could be over.' It really scares me."
In the last year or so, there have been more articles and studies regarding head injuries and how they can affect people long-term, especially with memory loss diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's.
"Maybe I should tone it down," Brown said. "I guess I can't be like I used to be, going full speed. I need to start thinking about my health because I don't want to do anything that will jeopardize myself or my team."
About half the SMU football team has been using Kevlar pads, or "bulletproof silk" as June Jones likes to say, in their uniforms to lessen the hard blows they take during games. Those who have been using the Kevlar pads say they can't feel the hits as bad as they used to. They should start using this material, which can be made into any size, shape or form, inside helmets to help limit the amount of concussions sustained in sports.
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