COLUMN: The dangers of so-called ‘non-contact’ sports

There are many words that can be associated with the word Frisbee. Recently, I learned one that I’d previously never even considered could be tied to the activity that for many, brings back such happy, carefree childhood memories.

There are many words that can be associated with the word Frisbee – beach, summer, fun, exercise and friends, to name a few.

Recently, I learned one that I’d previously never even considered could be tied to the activity that for many, brings back such happy, carefree childhood memories.

Concussion.

That’s right, concussion. I got one, playing with – you guessed it, laugh if you must – a Frisbee.

Now, I must note I wasn’t playing the same flying-disc game of my childhood days. About three years ago, when a league formed in Surrey, I took up Ultimate, a high-energy, (usually) no-contact sport I’ve since realized has many passionate – and phenomenally talented – fans.

Played with a Frisbee-esque disc, the object is to catch said disc in your opponents’ end zone. You can’t run with the disc, and if you receive a pass, you’ve got 10 seconds to move it along or else the disc goes to the other team.

I’d previously heard about “ultimate” in passing, but never really put much thought into what it actually entailed until my sister saw a poster advertising a new league in the ’hood and encouraged me to join her in checking it out.

I’m the first to admit that while my knowledge of the sport has expanded since joining the SUL (Surrey Ultimate League), it remains far from in-depth, and I’m forever grateful to my patient teammates for their tips and encouragement.

For me, signing up was one of the best things I’ve done for myself in recent years.

It built up my confidence, expanded my social circle a bit, added variety to my exercise regime and gave me something I could honestly say I was doing strictly for myself. It’s amazing how quickly, in the hustle and bustle of work and family life, we forget how important it is to have at least one thing we can be a little selfish about.

That time on the field – running, catching (or, rather, attempting to catch), etc. – it’s my time. So you can imagine my disappointment when, with about 10 minutes left of a pre-season drop-in game at Newton Athletic Park, I collided with an opponent (or, rather, he with me) and – wham-o – smacked the back of my head into the turf field.

I learned later that one of the more experienced players, seconds after the disc I was running to intercept was released, had described said pass as “a hospital throw” – a term describing a pass deemed likely to end in some degree of injury.

Well, he certainly called it.

According to the ER doc, since I wasn’t knocked out and could for the most part follow his finger as it tracked back and forth in front of my face, my concussion was minor – thankfully.

But after an attempt at returning to the gym three weeks later left me feeling sick for a week, I realized that perhaps, when referring to a head injury, the word “minor” best not be taken lightly. I put my gym membership on hold, traded my cleats for my camera at the field and reluctantly accepted that it was probably best to take the summer off.

Three months later, feeling mostly back to normal – my normal – I’m cautiously venturing back to the gym.

Judging by the rattling sensation in my head when I hit the bags, I have no doubt my brain still has some healing to do. But I’m determined to work my way back to where I was – both at the gym and on the field – before I got hurt.

Ultimately, it’s my only option.

 

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