head hurts due to a concussion - woman with hand on forehead at table with mug

When I share with people that I am recovering from a concussion, the first thing they generally do is offer condolences.

The second thing they do is express curiosity. How did I get it?! (Here’s how, if you are feeling a sudden bout of curiosity.)

The third thing they do is tell me a story about how they, or someone they know, got a concussion.

As a result of this third proclivity, I have, in recent months, amassed a long list of stories about how real people have gotten concussions. The list is pretty humorous . . . if you like black humor. We humans are pretty (lacking in) genius in getting ourselves into all sorts of ridiculous scrapes and troubles. No matter whether clumsiness, stupidity, or bad luck has struck . . . it’s still somehow hysterical! Even when it was me who was clumsy, stupid, or unlucky.

And black humor is not just funny, but restorative. I find solace in the fact that I’m not the only one who has suffered through recovering from a traumatic brain injury. In fact, I have come to see it as a sort of club that I didn’t know existed, and that I now belong to!

And, I mean, who wouldn’t want to belong to a club?! Being in a club is fun! Don’t’cha kinda wanna join us?! If so, I have some suggestions!

Without further ado, here’s my list of real ways that real friends or contacts of mine (or friends or contacts of theirs, or a person I know intimately because it’s me) have gotten a concussion. None of these are stories I heard through the media or made up: all were either told to me by people I know or happened to me. And so, the next time you’re feeling lonely and decide that joining a club would be the perfect way to lift your spirits, consider the following options:

  1. Slip on the ice, fall backward, and hit your head on the sidewalk or driveway.
  2. Work in a shop that resells building parts, and have a piece of wood fall on your head.
  3. Work in lawn care, and have a branch fall on your head.
  4. Work in a lab as a biologist, and have something explode into your head.
  5. Work as an engineer or something, on airplanes or something, and have something fall on your head, or something. (I was told this story on the morning after I got my concussion. Clearly, I had trouble listening to and processing the story.)
  6. Wear sunglasses on a bright day, and slam the hatchback of your rental car into your face.
  7. Slam a cabinet shut, with your head in the way.
  8. Get into a car without ducking low enough.
  9. Drive on a one-way street, and turn left into the car in your blind spot.
  10. Fall off a horse. (I wasn’t told what happened next, but we can guess.)
  11. Have a child, who smacks you between the eyes with a hardcover book.
  12. Go to a party, eat a brownie, and, later on, faint and hit your head on your friend’s kitchen floor.
  13. Be a teenager, sit on top of your friend’s car, keep sitting there as your friend starts to drive away as a joke, fall off for real, and hit your head on the parking lot pavement.
  14. Stand in an airplane aisle, and have a heavy piece of luggage fall on your head.
  15. Sit in a restaurant, and have a wall hanging fall on your head.

Do you have a story about how you, or someone you know, or someone you know knows, joined the concussion club? Tell me in the comments!—but only if it’s a story that you heard personally (not through the media). Looking forward to reading your stories!

And, by the way, my deepest condolences. (Like, for real.)

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