Two Concussions Won’t Keep Kobi Bell Off the Field

Two Concussions Wont Keep Kobi Bell Off the Field

Danielle Mahler, Reporter

Kobi Bell never played organized football until his freshman year.  A track athlete since fifth grade and basket ball player, he says he would see the team practicing together and “It looked like more of a bond than I’d ever get with a basketball team.”  The bond Kobi has built has gone deeper than imagined.  He fondly speaks of Coach McKee as a “father-figure”.  “He doesn’t act like he’s getting paid to do a job.  He goes out of his way to see that I have everything I need.  To see that I am happy.  If I’m short on money, he’ll pitch in and help me out but he expects me to work for it.  Sometimes I’ll clean up the gym or pull weeds on the football field.  He’s taken me under his wing.”

This has been a rough year for Kobi. His first concussion was at the rival game against Sabino High School on August 18.  It was just five minutes into the first quarter. Kobi was running a soar route, and was hit by a defensive lineman. “250 pounds came full speed right at me.  He picked me up and slammed me down on the back of my head.  As soon as I stood up, I knew something was wrong.  I was walking sideways and I when I went to sit on the bench, I missed. ”  He said he felt light headed, sick to his stomach, and his vision was blurry. He was given care by Becky Fajardo, Sahuaro’s Athletic Trainer.  His second concussion happened at the Desert View game.  He had similar symptoms, but it hurt a lot more. He was blind-sided, and six vertebrae in his spine were injured. This time he was given care at Tucson Medical Center Hospital and he was not permitted to finish out the season.

Even after sustaining two injuries that interfered with his schoolwork and ability to focus, Kobi will continue to play.  “Football is my passion, my way out of Tucson,” says Kobi. He says he made a promise to his mom – wherever he goes to college, she is going with him.  Kobi will run track next semester and then get right back into football, but he is skeptical about the safety of the football equipment, and it has affected his views about his personal safety. Having these concussions made it difficult for him to focus in class, he would constantly get headaches, and he struggled with math. “Hopefully with better equipment, I’ll be okay.  It’s just not meant to be if I get hurt again,” he nonchalantly figures.

A concussion can happen when the head sustains a hard blow, interrupting the brain’s normal activities. There may be cuts or bruises on the head or face, there may be no other visible signs of a brain injury. When someone is given a concussion, the brain stretches and strains. Too much stretching and swelling of these nerve cells in the brain can cause permanent loss of ability to communicate with the rest of the body. Half a million ER visits for concussions occurred among 8- to 19-year-olds between 2001 and 2005.