Oklahoma Teen’s Miraculous Recovery From A Concussion
OKLAHOMA CITY - It's estimated there will be millions of sports and recreation-related concussions this year and about 300,000 are football related. The numbers continue to rise but so does the awareness and how to better prevent these types of injuries.
One Oklahoma athlete nearly died from a concussion.
"I just kept going and going," remembers Keviyon Cooper, a former football player for Union High School. "It was all my adrenaline was going. I was hyping up the linemen to hurry up and finish the drive and it felt really good."
His mother was watching.
"I've never seen him play like that but I know that he's determined and he really doesn't like to take losses," said Shirley Cooper.
His team beat Owasso in double overtime but after the game, Keviyon didn't feel like celebrating. His mom was told her son was probably overheating.
"I do a quick evaluation and everything seems fine," said Dan Newman, Union HS Trainer. "He's alert, eyes nice and equal and reactive to light. He's just complaining of a severe headache."
But it was more than just a headache.
"I got a trash can and was throwing up then I tried to get up to go to the bathroom and then I just passed out," Keviyon said.
"Open up the right eye and I shine it down and his pupil's blown," said Newman.
"I come down and I see my son on the floor and he's incoherent, he's wailing his hands," said Shirley. "Don't know what's going on and I'm like 'this is not overheating. What's wrong with him?'"
Keviyon was rushed to the hospital with massive bleeding in his brain.
Three days in a coma and 27 days in the hospital, a concussion suffered during the game nearly took his life.
"I just thank God there was four doctors here to look at me that night before I went to the hospital," Keviyon said.
With the concern over concussions, it's a question more and more parents are asking themselves, 'should I allow my child to play contact sports like football, rugby, hockey, kickboxing or soccer.'
"When your child plays football and other high impact sports, you're undermining the life of your child," said Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist. "You're making your child less intelligent. It's as simple as that."
Dr. Omalu is a forensic pathologist and the basis of the Will Smith movie "Concussion." The film highlights the doctor's discovery and crusade to shine a light on the connection between long-term brain damage and contact sports.
"The brain doesn't have reasonable capacity to regenerate itself," he said. "I've looked at thousands and thousands of brains. I've yet to see a brain that is dividing normally to regenerate itself. Brain cells don't do that."
Dr. Omalu says once a brain cell is damaged, it's permanent and he wants parents to understand that before sending their kids onto the field.
Trainers say when participating in contact sports, education is critical on the proper technique and possible dangers.
As for Keviyon, his football career is over, but he will be able to run track this spring.