Simpson College hosts forum about concussions after local player passes away
The more our community learns about concussions and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, the more things change the same. Too often, we read stories about far too early deaths or forever changed lives, ultimately resulting without much substantial change or promised futures. However, Simpson College, a small school in Iowa, is looking to buck that trend by teaching their student body, parents, and anybody else that will listen the real-life consequences of CTE.
On July 17th, Simpson College held a forum on CTE and, in particular, the impact it had on Zac Easter, a young man that passed away from the disease in December of 2015 after seven concussions. Easter never got the opportunity to play football in college because of his injuries and, yet, still could not beat the harrowing disease. Unfortunately, many people believe that CTE is reserved for collegiate and professional athletes, but Zac is definitive proof that it can develop in those as young as high schoolers. Concussions are serious, as are most injuries, but the accumulation of them can make a normal bump on the head life-threateningly dangerous.
While some impacts to the head may be inevitable, the way we handle concussions are unbelievably important and must be taken very seriously — which, thankfully, is where Simpson College hopes they can make an invaluable difference to the community.
“Geelan said it’s going to be a lecture-style forum with a question-and-answer session at the end. He said [Brenda] Easter will be reading passages out of Zac’s journal that discusses some of his struggles. [. . .] Geelan said anyone and everyone with an interest in CTE is invited to attend Sunday. “With it being such a hot topic right now we hear about it all the time,” Geelan said. “But primarily I see anybody who has an affiliation with the sport of football will be interested.”
As an athlete, there may be pressure from coaches, friends, and teammates to return to the playing surface, but, please, do yourself a favor and be honest. In the moment, it may seem like an easy choice — trust us, however, it is anything but. Awareness of the symptoms and repercussions can only move forward through education, so all of us must do our part to contribute and change the tides. Ultimately, it’ll be the conversations, research, and the forums, like Simpson College’s, that may save a life one day.