October 29, 2014

Concussions and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

A few weeks back Jared Weiner, head instructor at BJJ United in Philly, put up a very important statement regarding concussions and brain injuries in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Overall a topic few address seriously as many believe head injuries are rare in an art that contains no striking.  Sadly this could not be further from the truth especially when grappling with someone with four sharp pointy things called elbows and knees, a head, and lets not forget throws and takedowns!  It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people pass over spending time and money on one of the most important pieces of protective equipment in grappling arts... a mouth

guard, that will help prevent against concussions. 

The potential of brain damage is great and it is nice to see the topic addressed.  Words of wisdom for all of us below...

  “I was always the first person to tell someone to suck it up and fight through the pain, no matter what the circumstance was. If we were training for a tournament winning was the only thing that mattered. I can honestly look back and say that was a bad mentality and we are very lucky more serious injuries didn’t transpire over the years.
   The back story: On July 19, I was in the finals of the IBJJF NY Summer Open. My opponent executed a beautiful single leg, he lifted me up and my head bounced off the mat. I saw the “camera flash” but kept fighting (This had no outcome on the match, my opponent won with great positions, and I don’t want to take away from his victory). Immediately after the match I became very nauseous and dizzy. I found myself dry heaving in the bathroom, and I wasn’t sure how I ended up there. That night I continued to throw up and feel “off” but I thought I was coming down with the flu and left it at that. That was HUGE mistake number 1.
    Fast forward to exactly one week later: I was still feeling a little “off” but training hard anyways. All I knew was I had the Chicago Open coming up and I had to win coming off that loss in NY. During that training session I was accidentally kneed in the jaw by one of my students and knocked out cold. I have very little recollection of the actual hit, but I do recall coming to and asking what happened. I was  not really sure what was going on but I decided to keep training anyways because if I missed a day of practice (in  my mind) I would be soft and It might effect the outcome in Chicago. HUGE mistake number 2.
   Fast forward to August 3: I finally decided to go to the hospital to see what was going on with me, because since the day I was knocked out, I felt light headed 24/7.  I was experiencing horrible headaches and scalp pain. I had crazy pressure in my left eye, and I was not able to sleep. Any type of light was hurting my eyes, and worst of all I became sad, emotionless, and suffered memory loss. I was scared as I never felt like this before, and I didn’t know what was going on with me.
   I remember the doctor being really cool and trying to talk MMA and BJJ with me.  She then advised me that I suffered two back-to-back concussions within a week and that is rare and extremely dangerous. She told me it could have been fatal to get two right on top of each other. She said it will take time but I should feel normal again eventually. EVENTUALLY.
   So here I am almost three months later still stuck in this “fog”. My headaches are not as severe, but I am still walking around light-headed and really “off”. I have not been able to train live, only teach, but even that is very difficult for me these days. A lot of things have been put in perspective for me over the last three months. The last thing on my mind is medals and tournaments, but being well for my daughter and family is my priority. This has been a nightmare for me, and people who have never experienced a head injury before never really seem to understand, and its very frustrating for me. I may seem normal, and look normal, but I feel far from normal.
   I’m hoping to bring some awareness to head injuries in our sport and they are to be taken very seriously. Take some time and educate yourself on the topic and if you are ever feeling “off” from a head shot get checked out.”

2 comments:

  1. BJJ has improved my life in many ways. Before I started training, I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle. I was unmotivated and depressed. BJJ and kickboxing pretty much reinvented me. I got in great shape, developed confidence and kind of found myself you could say. I wake up every day excited to train, learn and grow as a fighter and a person. I couldn't picture myself in any other lifestyle. Best MMA in Connecticut

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  2. This post was from a few years ago. Any updates. How long before you started rolling again?

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