Bell rung.

We had a bit of a scare yesterday with Joaquin concerning his football practice.

I was working on the Sports Banquet videos and Liz was picking up Emmy and Joaquin from school. Joaquin has been having “Spring Ball” – two weeks of pre-football practices and he starts them right after school. This is in preparation for the coming JV season at Antonian High School.

He’s been telling us that the drills have been rough and he’s been getting knocked around. He’s not the only one either. He told us that he knew of two other kids that got a concussion during the practices.

So it’s around 5:45pm and I see this call coming through on my iPhone. It’s a number I don’t recognize so I thought of letting it go to voicemail but decided not too.

It was the Antonian Sports Trainer, calling to let me know that she thought Joaquin had received a concussion during practice.

That bowling ball suddenly materialized right above me and dropped into my lap again.

She quickly told me that he was not practicing but sitting with her on the sidelines. They only had ten more minutes of practice so he seemed fine for now…although he had been exhibiting some odd behavior during the last part of practice.

I told her this was the third person I had known that had received a concussion DURING PRACTICE…and she said Joaquin was actually the 4th.

That didn’t make me feel better.

When the team took a water break Joaquin just kind stood there and didn’t go get water. He seemed confused. Some of his team mates noticed the peculiar behavior and went to get him. They noticed he was not acting himself so they started asking him questions — one of the boys had previously received a concussion and he knew which ones to ask.

  • “Are you Okay?”
  • “What day is it?”
  • “Can you recite the alphabet backwards?”

They walked him over to the trainer on the sidelines.

God Bless those young men.

She quickly accessed his condition, sat him down and gave me a call. I asked if we should take him to the ER and she said, “No” but that he should see a Sports Medicine doctor and she stated she would make the appointment. I expressed my concern about the number of concussions during practices. The trainer promised to discuss this with the new coaching staff and she’d get back to me. I thanked her, hung up and collected myself.

Now I had to call Liz since she was five minutes out from picking him up.

“Hi Liz, are you driving?”

I then explained the situation while she listened intently and absorbed what the trainer had told me about Joaquin. She asked about taking him to the ER and I told her, “Not yet according to the trainer.”

We hung up and I did the only thing I could to distract myself, I kept working on the videos. But after about 20mins of failed concentration, I gave up, walked to garage, opened the door and just waited for them.

LIz, Emmy and Joaquin pulled in around 6:45pm and out climbed a very lethargic, sweaty, quiet, tired young man.

“Got your bell rung eh?” I asked.
“Yezzzer…” and he walked past me.

I followed him to his room, made sure he was okay, then watched him lay down on his bed. I stayed there watching his chest rise and drop. After a couple of minutes, I heard quiet snores begin to escape his mouth. Satisfied with the rhythmic and natural pace of his breathing, I left his room then headed straight to Liz to discuss.

Man…we were scared. I remember when he hurt his back in 7th grade and we found out he had scoliosis! That was rough — hence my bowling ball reference above – you can read the story here.

As Liz and I spoke, the trainer called. She had made an appointment for 8:30am this morning. After the call, Liz and I split up and started calling anyone we knew that had athletes who might have been in contact sports for advice on concussions. All the while we kept checking on Joaquin. The trainer told us it was all right for him to sleep since he needed to rest. No videogames, no computer, no TV.

Around 9pm he woke up and was in a better mood — more like himself. He was hungry too, another good sign. He ate, took a shower, then read in his room for a while. Around midnight, I walked into his room to check on him and I told him I was glad he was okay. I walked out, turned and told him, “I love you Papa.”

“Love you too Dad.”

I can’t remember how many times I woke up at night, listening for his breathing. It was like I was a first time parent with a new baby boy home from the hospital.

This morning, we took him to a Sports Doctor for an examination. The good news (if you can call it that) is he seems to have only suffered a mild concussion. The doctor was impressed with his quick recovery but again, he needed mental and physical rest for the next week. Doc said he wanted to see him in a week but that he looked good.

In unison, an especially audible, single exhalation of air escaped from the mouth’s of both LIz and I.

He’s staying home with me today and will probably go to school tomorrow and he’s becoming “chatty” again. Another good sign.

I’m still concerned that during practice, there are this many concussions occurring and I’m ready to voice my concern to the coaching staff so we’ll see what happens. Spring Ball practice is over after this friday but then finals start in two weeks!

It just never ends does it?


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