I had to quit playing rugby after getting severe concussion

I’d been doing it since I was eight


Third year Maths and Business Management student Aimee Fearn has a passion for rugby, but a major injury forced her to quit.

She’d been playing rugby since she was eight and wanted to continue her love of the sport during her time at Brookes. A head injury during a training session left her concussed for months, forcing her to quit the sport. Aimee spoke to The Tab to talk about what happened to her.

13059504_10153532849665814_266655043_n

What happened to you?

“During a training session in my second year I was getting up off the floor and my own team mate ran into me by accident. My head connected with her stomach and I heard everything click in my neck.

“I think it was so severe because it took me completely by surprise and I wasn’t ready for it. I went into shock, the training session stopped, my coach ran over, and I was whisked off on a stretcher as they thought I had a neck and back injury.”

13072073_10153536097435814_2015472901_o

“I don’t actually remember any of what happened. I was completely out of it. My dreams jumped from being on a beach in Costa Rita one moment to squirrels eating apples the next. I was also blabbing things in Welsh.

“I was taken to the hospital and advised to go home after I was told nothing was wrong with me. They didn’t do an MRI scan or anything, I wasn’t even told that I was concussed as I hadn’t thrown up. I actually remember the doctor saying “I don’t know why she’s so confused”. They were completely useless.”

What effects did the injury have on you?

“For about a month after the injury I would fall in and out of consciousness sporadically.

“We were having our team photo and I would just stare blankly into space. My team mate told me to go home. I phoned my mum and mid conversation passed out. My mum had to re-ring me in order to wake me up.

“I remember that I was with a friend in Costa one time and ordered a latte. After just a few sips my heart started beating incredibly fast and it felt like a cloud landed on my head. I felt dazed and my vision went blurry. I couldn’t have caffeine for a year which was really frustrating as I’m a massive coffee lover.

13059930_10153536101230814_64367609_n

“I also got really depressed and just felt lonely after it happened. I didn’t seek any professional help about it which I do regret a little as I just felt so awful.

“I felt like people were looking at me and wondering why I wasn’t playing, as if I just had a little knock and that I should be over it. That’s the thing with mental health, its different for everyone and those who haven’t experienced it don’t understand.”

Have you had any long term effects?

“Yes, the concussion induced me to develop dyslexia. It has also resulted in some memory loss. For example I will be having a conversation with someone and all of a sudden completely forget what we were just talking about. I also can’t retain much information now. In general I just feel completely different from before the accident.”

13090147_10153536101660814_559703646_n

What did you do to make yourself feel better?

“I had to completely detach myself from rugby and surround myself with close friends and family who understood and supported me. Anything to do with rugby would upset me as I knew I could never play again.”

Has it affected your social life?

“A little bit I suppose. I wasn’t supposed to drink any alcohol as any stimulants would really affect me. But of course I did drink occasionally. However, when I did go out I would have a hangover for like two days afterwards, it was horrible.

“I was also Social Sec of the girl’s rugby team in my second year and felt like I did a rubbish job because my heart just wasn’t in it.”

Studying?

“As a result of the dyslexia my grades dropped massively. I went from getting 2 A’s and a B at A-Level to barely scrapping past all my uni work. I would end up giving in loads of essays half done because I couldn’t concentrate long enough to finish them. I would sit down and literally not be able to see the words on the page.

“I also went home for a month as I kept passing out so didn’t attend any lectures which obviously didn’t help. I have been given extra time in exams now so hopefully that will make things better.”

13084044_10153530266320814_918482338_n

Do you have any regrets?

“On the whole no. I don’t regret ever playing rugby because I loved it so much.

“But I also don’t regret that I quit as I couldn’t have continued playing. I didn’t want to harm myself any more.

“I haven’t played since, but am thinking about going back to touch rugby after uni. I think it has worked out quite well as not playing has given me more free time in my third year.”