It’s his last football game. He has to do well. There are scouts coming to see him. He needs a scholarship for school. He feels his heart pumping and his breath getting faster. The adrenaline hits him as he steps on the field. The last thing he saw was the ball. He wakes up in the hospital unaware of his circumstances. Sadly, he will never play football again.

This isn’t a real story, but it could be. Traumatic brain injury is a growing problem in the United States. TBI is “caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.” TBI exists in a range like most other problems. Some of the danger signs to look for are headaches that don’t go away, weakness/decreased coordination, repeated vomiting/nausea, or slurred speech. More intense signs to look for are extreme drowsiness, convulsions, unable to recognize things/people, unusual behavior, and a loss of consciousness.

The effects TBI can have are in relation to thinking, sensation, language, and emotion. Our brains are very important. Leagues and sports in general have been more specific about concussions because they are a mild form of TBI. Repetition of this can cause neurological and cognitive issues.

It’s his last football game. He didn’t know it would be his last.

The lost and heartbroken:

It is an epidemic sweeping through our country affecting millions. It is quiet and deadly. It doesn’t care who it takes, and who makes it through. It affects everyone directly and indirectly. Several close friends of mine have dealt with this plague we call suicide.

Suicide is never beautiful or poetic. Suicide rates have been raising and have increased by 60% in the last 45 years. It has become a huge problem with young people. There is a link between suicide and mental health, specifically depression and substance abuse, but many suicides can happen impulsively in a time of crisis. 800,000 people die because of suicide every year. Suicide is an intricate problem to prevent, but it can be prevented.

There are several things in place now that are meant to help those struggling. A big one coming up is the Walk for Life. This walk raises awareness for suicide prevention, and it is trying to erase the stigma of talking about it. People need to understand that they have a place to turn to and people to listen to them. Good things can prevail through the sadness. A lot of universities and campuses are now doing QPR training. This training is to help people recognize the hurt in someone else. It stands for “question, persuade, and refer”. After taking this training there is a lot of bravery and lack of comfort in asking someone if they are going to end their own life. That’s why it’s so important. We need to be checking in with one another on a regular basis.

National Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273-8255

-Anonymous Friend