It was kind of a blur. It happened fast, like really fast. I remember stepping out and hugging Kevin asking if he was okay, knowing things could have been much worse. Walking out of that car, I knew my guardian angels were watching over me.
Miraculously, we all walked away with minor injuries, or so I thought. My head did not hit anything, but what I would find out later was the whiplash from the accident gave me my worst concussion yet.
It was sort of weird, though. I felt fine for weeks afterwards. I even played the rest of the lacrosse season. However, a couple weeks after the end of school when I was driving home from the first day of my summer internship, I realized something was wrong.
As the sun beat down on my windshield, I began to get dizzy. I was losing my vision and the road became blurred. I pulled over because I knew something was up. After taking a break and resting my eyes, I was able to make it the rest of the way home.
Not long after that incident, I went to the doctor and he concluded I was facing concussion symptoms again. Only this time, they were much worse than before. My concussions happened so close together, their effects were compounded since my brain was not able to fully heal from the first one.
I felt like I was going crazy. I would wake up disoriented and then go to work, only to come home and sit in my room with the lights off and curtains drawn to decompress in the darkness from the constant stimuli I faced all day. I became depressed.
My doctor recommended I meet with a concussion specialist at Upstate University Medical Center in Syracuse. This is where Dr. Brian Rieger became a part of my journey. I explained my situation to him as well as how I was feeling physically, mentally and emotionally. He was like a rock, holding me down from going off the rails.
The first thing I asked was, “Will it get better?” He reassured me it would. Hearing about his expertise and all of those he had helped in the past, I trusted he was right. And boy, did I need to hear that.
"I felt like I was going crazy. I would wake up disoriented and then go to work, only to come home and sit in my room with the lights off and curtains drawn to decompress in the darkness from the constant stimuli I faced all day. I became depressed."
Summer came and went, but I did not get much better. My head felt like mush. Life was just dull. I wasn’t Andrew. I was also missing lacrosse, which was my passion, my hobby, my social circle, and my release, all rolled into one.
I got back to school for my junior year, excited but also nervous to see how things would play out with my symptoms. It was time for me to go to speak with our athletic trainers to figure out my situation for the coming season. I sat down with Jeremie and explained the situation and we decided I should see the department doctor to get his opinion.
My head needed to rest. I could not play my junior season.