STILWELL, Kan. — Concussions are a hot topic right now in the sports world, as kids hear their teachers, coaches, parents, and school administrators all talking about how they need to take concussions seriously.
But teenagers think they’re invincible and many don’t really take the warnings seriously. One student athlete told FOX 4 she hopes their attitude will change after they hear her story.
Kylee Bliss is a junior at Blue Valley High. The 16-year-old says her life changed drastically after two concussions took her out of the game she loved and changed her life as she knew it.
Bliss says just sitting in class listening to the teacher is incredibly difficult for her – because the concussions changed how she thinks and how her brain works. Her social life has changed too, because she can’t go out with her friends to concerts, movies or football games. The noise bothers her too much.
It all started last year at basketball practice when Bliss smacked heads with another player. Both her trainer and her doctor knew it was a concussion and ordered brain rest, but Bliss admits she didn’t take it seriously.
“I didn’t feel fine but I wanted to feel fine and I wanted to play,” she says.
She got back to practice as soon as she could, but then at a game in January, another collision. She hit her head on the floor, but she told everyone she was fine and even kept playing. She admits now that was a lie.
“Everything was foggy and shooting free throws, I couldn’t see, I was dizzy,” says Bliss.
The Blue Valley School District Athletic and Activities Director, Richard Bechard, was actually at that game and remembers seeing Bliss hit the ground.
“I thought that had to hurt,” says Bechard. He says when she walked off the court he say Bliss, “acted like she was okay and nothing was wrong but that wasn’t the case.”
Bechard hopes Bliss’ story will send the message to other student athletes that they need to speak up and be honest about their symptoms.
“I think they know when things aren’t quite right,” he says, “but our athletes are so loyal to their teams they don’t want to let their teammates down they want to be involved.”
Bliss’ father agrees. He says too often parents tell their kids to “tough it out.”
“You tell em to suck it up and move on but this is one instance where someone can’t suck it up,” says Matt Bliss.
He adds that it’s hard watching his daughter struggle in school, not knowing when or if things will get better for her.
“We just don’t know and as a parent that’s the hardest thing, to say ‘honey it’s going to be okay’ when you really don’t know,” he says.
Another important message the Bliss family wants to share: make sure your student athlete gets the impact test done. It gives coaches and trainers a baseline so they will have a better idea of whether someone is suffering from a concussion.
Kylee Bliss didn’t have one, and now she thinks if she did, it wouldn’t have been as easy for her to lie about her symptoms. Now she hopes that telling her story will help change how her peers think about concussions.
“You can’t lie about it, nothing good comes out of it. And it’s not like a broken ankle or arm where people can see it. People have to go off what you tell them,” she says, “it’s important to want to play but put yourself and your body first because you have one brain.”