MEDFORD, Ore. – Garrett Watson is only 18 year-old, but a life in contact sports caused approximately nine concussions, and the South Medford football star is constantly dealing with the lasting symptoms.
“There will be days where I’ll wake up in the morning and I’ll forget what happened the night before, what I ate the night before,” he says. “I can’t look at a computer screen for more than thirty minutes without getting a headache.”
Garrett took a proactive approach focusing his senior project on the problem and organizing Friday night’s seminar. One of the seminar’s attendees, David Martin, is a youth football coach.
“The local pop warner leagues have really made great strides in the last three years to protect the kids against concussions,” Martin says. “The Rogue Valley Pop Warner League has actually required the coaches to all do a football training course.”
It’s not intended to be a scare tactic. In fact, Garrett’s going to play college football next year despite earlier hesitations.
“It is a risk,” Watson says, “but at the same time I know I love this sport. I spent twelve years working at it, and I’m going to continue to play.”
Rather than closing the door to a life in sports, Garrett hopes parents and coaches are educated on the topic.
“I think that people need to be aware of what can happen to kids when it happens,” Watson says, “and more importantly what can it do to their lives.”
For more information on concussions and their effects, go to http://www.bu.edu/cste/about/leadership/, where Watson acquired much of his research.