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Knocked Down and Definitely Out (Chapter 6)

My 8th grade season progressed along much like 7th grade. I played sparingly, was a regular on kickoffs and returns and usually got some minutes at the end of the game on defense.
I recall one game where both myself and a kid named Jonah Muir had the times messed up and we were late to the game bus after school. The game was away, so I begged my parents to drive me. I had no pads, but I felt I had a duty to make it to the game.  So, my mom was able to drive me to the game out of town and drop me off. I remember this game also because we had to punt from our end zone and our punter stepped out of bounds for a safety. That was new to me. So was sitting on the bench with my classy jean jacket rooting for my Northside Spartans!
Later in the season, at a home game against either Seymour or Shelbyville, I got to go in for the last couple minutes. It was exciting because I was on the field playing left defensive end.  For the non football player, this position is on the outside of the line and gives you a lot of space to run and get around the linemen.  I was hungry for a sack and this team hadn’t been playing well all game. Just think me as being Dwight Freeney for the Colts…and we were up like 20-0. IT WAS MY TIME TO SHINE!
They hike the ball and I’m sprinting around the tackle with my eyes set on the QB. He’s dropping back to pass and there’s no one between me and my prey. He sees the wrecking ball coming at him and he drops down as I dive at him. As I’m committed to the kill, flying through the air, I notice that the other defensive end, Kevin Thompson, had ran around the other tackle and had the same idea about creaming the QB. So, like two rams, Kevin and I headbutted as we passed over the “crouching for dear life” QB.


The next several minutes of detail are forever lost to me.  I know I walked off the field immediately, and I walked straight to the bench and ignored the coach.   Somebody else asked why I was leaving the field and I had no football 6response. As I plopped down on the bench I recall sitting next to Jason Koester and maybe mumbling something about my head or who knows what…The next thing I have is a snippet of memory as I was jogging through the end of game lineup where we shake hands with the opposing team…..then we were in a huddle on the field for the post game talk…The only other clear memory I have is standing up and telling Coach Cooper that something was wrong with me.  He had me lie down.

I was out.  My next memory was of looking up and seeing several people standing around me in a circle.  Some parents, a few other football players, they were all just standing there looking at me.  I remember my parents and Jared Brock being there.  Then the questions started.

“Do you know your name?”

“Yes, Jeff.”  I said.

“Do you know where you are, what’s going on?”

“No.”  I said as I was looking at the score board while lying on the ground.

“Do you know who the President is?”

“Reagan.” I said (it was 1986).

[As I write this I can’t seem to stop my emotions from getting to me.  It’s odd, really.  It’s like an imprint on my mind of extreme turmoil surrounds these memories.  I’m scared and sad about the loss of memory.  For anyone who has had a concussion I wonder if they have the same feelings, or if it was simply the area of my brain that was traumatized.]

An ambulance arrived, and paramedics came up to me and did their thing.  Lots of lights in my eyes and questions.  It was official…I was being taken to the hospital.

(to be continued)

To jump to a different Chapter, select from below:

Forfeit the game back to Chapter 1

Throw an interception back to Chapter 2

Take a time out and head back to Chapter 3

Half time! Head to locker room in Chapter 4

Concussion with memory loss, head back to Chapter 5

Come to your senses head to Chapter 7


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