A few weeks ago, I suffered my third concussion in the span of a year while playing soccer. A week before that, I landed on my head rather clumsy on a bad challenge and was dealing with a lot of headaches. The fact that I had taken two head injuries over a week span left me made me thinking long and hard about my health and well-being.
It’s the things that we love so dear sometimes that we have a hard time letting go of. Sometimes, it’s a loved one. Or it could be it’s an item we’ve treasured for so long. For me, soccer was one of those things I had loved a lot.
It wasn’t for the glory of playing the game, nor was it for bragging rights or even to work towards becoming the best. It was the fact that I learned about a game that isn’t about one person. Or two… Or even three. It was a collective whole that made it work. It was about building the trust between everyone on the team in order to succeed and progress.
But more importantly, it was about the relationships that I had built through playing the sport. Whether it was IMA teams, Shamrock leagues, or Co-Rec teams, I built a lot of friendships there. That’s what really crushed my spirit when I had to make this decision. I could still watch games from the sidelines, but it wouldn’t be the same as it is on the field. The difference in the relationships between player to spectator versus player to player is huge. The other thing was it wasn’t with just men, but women as well. It gave me a bit better understanding and more respect for women in the game. I cherish all my relationships with those on the teams I play with though.
How long am I quitting for? That seems to be the question everyone is asking. Some are saying that I should just take a break and come back. However, I already know the answer. It is for good. During that weekend, I considered all the pros and cons about a possible return. While I have control over my own actions, that only half of it. It’s about the opposing player that I can’t control. It wasn’t worth that risk of taking another injury from another place that could result in me suffering serious brain damage or disabling motor skills. To have to deal with that as well as my friends and family suffering the consequences due to it wasn’t something I was willing to make them go through. Being unable to serve, my family, my friends, the community and the world would be extremely difficult as well and I didn’t want to do that either.
While it’s sad for me to have to quit playing the game, I know it doesn’t mean that I am leaving everything behind and moving on to something else. I will still try to be involved somehow. It could be coming to games to support or it could be helping with managing teams. I don’t know, but I will still be around.
Though this door has started to shut itself, I know that there will be another one that will open up for me. It’s the way life and God works with all of us.