Why is All of Thacher Concussed?

As the first half of the year winds down and students begin to think about what their winter breaks will entail, there’s one question on everyone’s mind: “Why are so many people concussed?”

The easy answer is to blame football. And the evidence would support you. Both Robert Welch ‘16 and Jahmari Josiah ‘16 suffered concussions, as well as Nate Currie ‘15. Many would also make the case for Blake Bowie ‘14, though he denies ever being concussed. The sport is often criticized for being too dangerous, and the amount of concussions this year don’t help its cause.

Concussion

But the list doesn’t stop there! Two others, Skylar Lewis ‘15 and Kenlyn Mirbach ‘15, both were concussed late October. Kenlyn was knocked down in the Hill Common Room and banged her head on a table. Skylar Lewis was standing against a wall during volleyball practice when a ball hit her, slamming her head against the wall.

Bridget Levy ‘17 and Sarah Cunningham ‘15 also suffered concussions, both from falling off their horses.

As Billy Mays would say, “But wait, there’s more!”

Lexie Kirkwood ‘14 and Quincy Hunter-Daniel ‘14 concussed themselves outside of sports practices. Lexie was playing pick-up lacrosse when Stuart Brown ’15 head-butted her, causing her to black out. Quincy was biking around campus when he ran into a golf cart, crashing and injuring his arm along with his head. At this point, if we didn’t know any better, we might assume that concussions are contagious.

So how are these concussions-the list stands at 10 people-affecting the students?

Lexie Kirkwood said, “My concussion really messed me up in school for a couple of weeks; I couldn’t focus, remember things, or articulate my thoughts.” She remembered everyone told her that she “looked like a zombie for like three days, but that didn’t matter because [she didn’t] really remember them.”

Concussions aren't new to Thacher. In this archive from March 3, 1916, a Thacher student clearly suffers from a concussion. Today we are better prepared to handle these medical emergencies.
Concussions aren’t new to Thacher. In this archive from March 3, 1916, a Thacher student clearly suffers from a concussion. Today, with proper training, we are better prepared to handle these  emergencies.

Lexie’s symptoms no longer exist, but for the week or so that she was impaired, it was very hard for her to successfully manage her schoolwork. And one can only assume that the others had the same experience (except Bridget, Freshmen don’t have work).

However Pete Fagan, Head of the Athletic Department, doesn’t think this is a strange year. “No, I don’t think this is unusual. Especially with the nature of football.” He said, “There’s more concussions this year because of the exposure from the media.” Now that concussions are easier to identify, he thinks doctors can diagnose concussions more proficiently.

Ms. McMahan, the Head Nurse in the Health Center, agreed. “I think there are more concussions this year because the media has done such a good job of increasing awareness. Kids are coming in and taking the necessary steps for making sure they’re safe.”

To ensure every student’s head is taken care of, Thacher is taking the needed precautions and requiring each student to take a concussion test upon entrance to the school.

Now it’s up to the students to use their knowledge to protect themselves.