Diary of a Helmet

As many of you know, I wear a helmet when I play soccer. Aside from loving the look, there is a practical reason to wearing it. About two and a half years ago I got a concussion from playing soccer. It was a series of 3 different hits over the span of about a week and a half. The first hit was a goal kick to the temple; it glanced off someone else’s misplaced header and got me right in the noggin. The second hit occurred in the first game of the Kristiansen Klassic (a women’s tournament played out at UCSB). I was dribbling full speed down the line and someone clipped my foot, sending me sprawling and, of course, landing on my head. I am sure that at this point I had at least a minor concussion. I knew that things didn’t feel quite right, but since no one else said anything and since I am sometimes too stubborn for my own good, I played 4 more games that weekend to finish the tournament. Two days later I was playing pick up in the park and my good friend Kev-dogg chipped a ball towards goal that caught me once again in the temple. It was the lightest of knocks, but with the compounding of the previous two hits it was enough to put me down. This time I knew instantly that I wasn’t ok. I finally stopped playing. I then proceeded to do all the worst things (sleep, drive, etc). At one point, I even ended up in the emergency room.

The crappy thing about concussions is that the damage adds up over time. If you get one it is then easier to get another. The other really crappy thing is that you can’t do anything while you have one. Not being able to move is one of my nightmares, so you can imagine that I was fairly miserable to put up with for the first week when I was under a strict no-activity prescription. You can ask my brother, if you have any doubts.

Due to the fact that I have also had chronic headaches for the last 9 years and likely several other unacknowledged mild concussions in high school, I decided to don a helmet upon my triumphant return to soccer.

My favorite thing about wearing this helmet, aside from the safety that it ensures, is the jokes that come up. Constantly. It is always good for a laugh, because it looks absolutely ridiculous. Most of the soccer community here in SB is used to seeing me wear it by now, but every once in a while I run across someone new. My favorite incident was last year at the start of the coed league out at City College. I heard some of the guys on the other team making fun of me before the game started. I acted really slow in warm up, and then when we lined up for kick off and the ball went to the guy that was making the most fun, I put my head down charged straight at him. He gave a funny little squeak and turned the ball over. I sure showed him who’s the helmet boss!

Anyway, I really enjoy the jokes and I enjoy even more that I get to continue playing soccer. Plus, not to toot my own horn, but I have scored more goals since I have worn a helmet than I ever did before. TOOT! Watch out soccer world, red helmet-girl is coming at you!

                                                                                                      Photo by Mel Uribe