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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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything
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They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.


Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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5 Songs Tony Stark Has Definitely Blasted As Iron Man

Iron Man, Iron Maiden, iron playlist!

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If you've never thought about what kind of music Iron Man would bop to, where even have you been? As a diehard Marvel fan, I've done more than my own fair share of reading up on canon facts, fics, and more when it comes to Tony Stark.

One of my first loves, RDJ's egocentric billionaire-turned-world saver is for real the love of my life. As a metalhead, who wouldn't? Tony has an impeccable music taste! We already know he tinkers to Suicidal Tendencies, per the first film in the franchise, so... keeping true to MCU lore, I present to you five songs that Tony would most definitely blast through the Iron Man suit.

"For Whom the Bell Tolls" - Metallica, 1984

In the comic series Iron Man: Hypervelocity, Tony makes many references to an extensive playlist "heavily skewed" to '80s metal. If you don't have Metallica in that playlist, who even are you? This is a good track that perhaps compliments ACDC's Hell's Bell's featured as a prominent in the franchise.

"Amerika" - Rammstein, 2004

I imagine an alternative universe where Tony is a hardcore Euro metal fan. I am also completely confident that Tony would appreciate this song because I feel as if he becomes disenchanted with the uber materialism, flippant view of struggle in other countries, and the overall push for "Americanization" that he starts to take notice of following the first film...

"Back in the Saddle" - Aerosmith, 1976

I can see Iron Man digging in and working in his shop, be it on a muscle car or the latest Stark technologies. I feel like this is one of those songs that gets the ol' Stark blood pumpin', especially when he needs to be most in the zone.

"Irresistible" - Fall Out Boy, 2015

I also have an alternative universe where Tony is a post-MCR emo who has a lot of feelings, and he needs this song to cope with his relationship with Pepper — especially pre-Spiderman: Homecoming.

"Mad Sounds" - Arctic Monkeys, 2013

"Mad sounds in your ears, they make you get up and dance"

Iron Man is a softie, and we know it. He is not always the rock solid, mucho charismatic sex god we see on the outside. Tony is a flawed man. He has made mistakes, but I still think he needs a feel-good song — even if this one is tinged with a bit of melancholy. This track comes from my fav Arctic Monkeys album, and I firmly believe Tony needs this one. I like to think he sings it sleepily to Pepper in bed on a Sunday morning.

I hope this playlist satisfies that MCU fix you were craving because I know it did mine. Maybe check out these songs for yourself, and see if you can find a little bit of Tony in each.

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