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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The NBA Draft Lottery In A Nutshell

A quick overview of the 2019 NBA lottery and which teams got the best picks.

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The NBA draft lottery took place on Tuesday night where all of the NBA teams were looking to see their fate heading into the 2019 draft. Many people know that anything can truly happen with a lottery. This year proved that statement again as the New Orleans Pelicans claimed the number one overall pick. The Pelicans had just a six percent chance of claiming the number one pick yet they still beat the odds. The Pelicans are now in the driver seat with picking up top prospect Zion Williamson from Duke University. Most teams that knew they weren't making the playoffs tried to tank this year in order to pursue the college basketball icon.

As for the remaining top five picks, the Memphis Grizzlies got the number two overall pick, the New York Knicks with the number three overall pick, the Los Angeles Lakers at number four, and finally the Cleveland Cavaliers at number five. Most of the teams with the highest percentage of claiming the #1 overall pick did not even make it in the top five which is rare. An example of this is the Phoenix Suns who had one of the worst records in the NBA this past season with a record of 19-63. The Suns got screwed over at this year's lottery where they claimed the #6 pick.

The teams that got the most out of this year's lottery were the New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Atlanta Hawks. The Atlanta Hawks, in my opinion, got the benefit of the doubt this year as they have secured two spots in the first 10 draft picks of the 2019 NBA Draft. There is a lot of talent in this draft class so this is a make or break draft for a lot of these struggling teams. Prospects like RJ Barrett, Ja Morant, Jarrett Culver, and Cam Reddish. A lot of these prospects are ready to make an impact on whatever team they end up on. As for the projected number one overall pick Zion Williamson, he has gotten compared to NBA greats such as Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley.

During an interview with Bill Simmons on his podcast show, NBA star Kevin Durant said that Zion is a once-in-a-generation athlete. The 2019 NBA draft should be quite interesting to see where these top prospects end up playing for. One thing is for almost certain in that the New Orleans Pelicans are going to end up with Zion Williamson with the number one overall pick in this year's draft. With that being said the Pelicans could have quite a bright future with this future star and hopefully, the rookie can help keep NBA star Anthony Davis in New Orleans. Anything can happen though during the NBA draft and we will just have to wait and see what happens.

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