On Concussions: The Knockout Project

On Concussions: The Knockout Project

Knocking out the invisible injury, one story at a time.
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Not all athletes are indestructible. Not all injuries require a cast, a brace, or some stitches. Not all battles are fought with visible scars. Not all healing is done at the doctor's office.

So what is a concussion?

According to the National Athletic Training Association (NATA), a concussion is defined as ‘‘a trauma induced alteration in mental status that may or may not involve loss of consciousness." In layman's terms, a concussion is a brain injury that occurs when a force is applied to the head, resulting in the brain "bouncing" off the skull. The consequences? Headaches, dizziness, poor balance, vomiting, temporary loss of consciousness; the intensity varies from nonexistent to severe. Because of the huge variability in causes, symptoms, medical opinions, rehabilitation protocols, and lasting effects, there's no one-size-fits-all concussion story. And this is exactly what Jay Fraga's The Knockout Project has aimed to bring to public awareness since 2012.

The Knockout Project in its entirety serves to tackle two underrepresented parts of the concussion equation: the lasting mental and emotional effects of concussions and the lack of consistency in concussion treatment among various healthcare providers. Through the stories of high school, collegiate, and professional athletes, the project's goal is to shed light on the dangers of concussions through first-hand accounts of what actually happens when concussion symptoms are ignored or improperly diagnosed. This inimitable point of view offers powerful evidence for the importance of proactive athletes and well-versed concussion literacy of both parents and medical professionals, an angle on concussions that was virtually unheard of until recent years. Fraga, a former BMX racer, says it best: "Sports aren't the problem. Ignorance is the problem."

To simply call any of the pieces of The Knockout Project "compelling" would be a severe understatement. The stories posted by athletes, mostly teens, are raw, honest, and unapologetic; they want readers to know that the consequences of concussions are very real. The website acts as a type of concussion support group, allowing users to share their stories and gain a sense of inclusion in a unique community setting. Round Table members (or, in the author's humble opinion, absolute warriors in their own right) are regular contributors to the Project, with their articles spanning the topics of second-impact syndrome, post-concussion syndrome, their struggles with anxiety and depression, and the future of concussion education.

Round Table member Madeline Uretsky of Simmons College had discovered The Knockout Project through googling concussion advocacy when she was in high school. Madeline has spoken about concussions to physicians and educators at the Pediatric Brain Injury Conference and Tufts University School of Medicine; she credits The Knockout Project for giving her "new friends and a new community of people who understand and accept me, and an avenue to tell my story." Roger Williams University's own Lindsey Santos found out about the Project through networking with Round Table member Alicia Jensen, expressing that being a part of a supportive community plays an important role in her daily life.

Some may find it surprising that The Knockout Project is pro-sport, but from an athlete's point of view it's not really surprising whatsoever. After all, athletes play for the love of sport; however now there is greater evidence that concussion awareness may just save somebody's life.

For those who have suffered concussions, there is hope. You aren't broken; you don't walk alone.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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7 Lies From F*ckboys That We've All Fallen For At Least Once

They might've had you goin' for a hot second, but you know better now.
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There’s no use in even frontin’; we’ve all been there. You know he’s a f*ckboy from the beginning, but you’re interested in pursuing him anyway. Ain't no thang; I fully support you.

You tell yourself you won’t fall for his games or lies because you’ve been through it all so many times before. Yet, time and time again, you find yourself slippin’ for a hot second, wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt until he inevitably disappoints you. Here are the top seven lies you’ve heard from f*ckboys that get you heated every time.

1. You’re the only girl I’m talking to/sleeping with


HAHAHA. OK, first, I don't actually care what (or who) you're doing in your spare time because you're definitely not the only guy I'm seeing either. I'm just asking so I know you're clean, OK? I don't need more stress in my life.

2. I know how to treat girls right

Isn't it super ironic how the WORST f*ckboys are the ones to toss this line?

3. I’ll text you

This statement is so unbelievable that on the off chance that they do actually text you, you basically fall out of your chair in shock.

4. I’m gonna give it to you good

I cry/cringe/die of laughter every time I hear this one because it's always the mediocre ones that throw this line. None of my most memorable hookups have ever said this because their actions clearly speak for them. Mediocre boys, TAKE NOTE.

5. Damn, I wanted to see you though

Well, you were supposed to, but then you clearly had other plans in mind. So the desire wasn’t all that intense, obviously.

6. Yeah, she and I broke up

CLASSIC LIE. CLASSIC. Sure, I believed it the first couple of times, but don’t even try that sh*t with me after I see she’s still blowin’ up your line.

7. *No response for hours after making plans* Damn, sorry I fell asleep


Honestly, how many times are you gonna throw that line when you’re literally viewable on Snap Map. BOY, I see you at someone else’s house. Stop frontin’, there’s no point.


Again, don't ask me why we put up with this sh*t because the mystery remains. I guess in our own sick, twisted ways, we crave the dramatics and thrills that come from their f*ckery. Whatever the reason, though, at least we've got some ~fun~ stories to tell.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube | I'm Shmacked

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The 2018 LSU Football Season Changed My Life

I've loved LSU football my whole life, but my first year as an LSU Tiger watching the games live has changed my life. There is nothing like singing Callin' Baton Rouge with 102,320 of your closest friends as kick-off time grows closer. My first season in Tiger Stadium has changed my life and I couldn't be happier.

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Louisiana sports fans are a whole different breed of people. For LSU fans the saying "Live Purple Love Gold" goes way beyond sports. It is who we are and it is a major part of our lives. From infants to the elderly, the devotion to the Tigers is deeply rooted across the Sportsman's Paradise and across the nation. We are used to losing some and winning some — and we are definitely used to losing games we should have won and used to winning games we should have lost. That's something that makes our fans true blue. We love the team when they're down- and we love them when they're up.

This 2018 season has drug us through a whole range of emotions. We defeated the odds and beat Miami in the first week of the season. Two weeks later I sat and watched as we defeated Auburn by 1 point in a last-second field goal by none other than Cole Tracy. The 21-22 miracle was an answer to our prayers, as my friends and I literally knelt on the floor holding hands and prayed for the kick to be good. At that moment our season changed for the better.

Our happiness was further elevated two weeks later by defeating Ole Miss in Tiger Stadium — where the chance of rain is NEVER (even though we were soaked to the core by the end of the game). At the end of the night I had to throw away my favorite pair of white pants from the dirt and rain - but watching LSU beat another SEC team in Tiger Stadium for the first time live was worth every second.

Hoping our luck would stick and we would win, my friends and I trekked halfway across the country from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Gainesville, Florida to watch LSU take on their next opponent. Smuggling six (yes six) people across state lines in a four-person car is something I will never forget as long as I live. The drive there was only supposed to be eight hours, we made it in 14. The Tigers lost in the Swamp, but making a pit stop to play in the waves on the way home made up for it for sure. Our spirits were a little crushed, but as always we knew our Tigers would come back from it.

Our sadness quickly changed to elation again the next week as the Tigers beat the #2 team in the country at the time- the Georgia Bulldogs. I had never seen Tiger Stadium so full of life or heard it so loud. Storming the field after the victory was a moment that students and fans alike will never forget. If you could see us all carrying "souvenirs" out of the stadium for us to remember the game forever you'd understand how happy we were. I have scars on the back of my ankles from where I cut myself on the fence as I jumped over in my heels. As a girl who grew up in metro Atlanta and seeing all of her UGA fan friends so confused and upset - it was one of the best moments of my life.

The next week provided us a win over Mississippi State (once again in the pouring rain) and then a bye week to prepare for what every LSU fan dreads — Alabama. With #FreeDevinWhite all over campus and College GameDay setting up in the Quad, the anxious and ominous feeling surrounding Baton Rouge is a feeling I will never forget. Watching the purple and gold busloads of fans pour in town amazed me. Dedication to our team, knowing the outcome is uncertain, to say the least, is something LSU fans do best.

Our staggering loss against Alabama hurt our souls, but we never let it keep us down. After our weekend of mourning it was time to get back on with life. A win on the road against Arkansas and an absolute shutout against Rice all led us to the last game of the year- Texas A&M.;

Students at home for Thanksgiving, like me, all huddled around our TVs as we watched the 7 overtime game. 72-74. A game we should have won three times over. My heart hurt for all of the football players and fans in College Station that day. Our team deserved every point they got — and the ones they were cheated of. Those who were able to go to the game said they wouldn't change their decision, as this is a new LSU classic game.

Coming to LSU from out of state and being 500 miles from home I was terrified and scared for what was to come. I loved LSU and I loved football so I knew when the season started I'd be okay. Throughout this season I have made so many memories that I will carry for a lifetime. I will tell my children and grandchildren about the stories and adventures LSU football gave me this year. I have made friends that I would not trade for the world, who through thick and thin sat beside me on game day and every other day I needed them.

There isn't a second I would change or do over. I'd do it again and again if I could.

So win or lose on January 1 against UCF, it's still forever LSU.

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