I returned from work this morning and had the great pleasure of having both my sons in the same house at the same time. The things we take for granted. You send these stories and I will write them. This is what it’s all about.
I check my email boxes around the clock to see if there is anything business related and I come across an email sent by a good friend of mine, Cynthia Marshall. We go waaaaay back to William Penn High School in New Castle, DE. If you are a parent you can surely relate to what she goes through here. This is for the athletes who do not know the full impact of their influence. As you all know, I let Westbrook know recently how much the fans appreciate what he has done for them during his tenure with the Eagles even if he never plays another down in the NFL. His health is much more important than the game of football. Brian will suit up today (limited action) for the first time in weeks in what is going to be a monster game for Philadelphia fans because of the return of Brian Dawkins…who is no stranger to concussions himself. Concussions have become a major sticking point for the NFL…and rightfully so. This obviously goes one step further. The following are Cyndi’s words:
Merry Christmas, Mike……sounds like you’re having a Merry time with your boys! I’m so glad for you…that’s neat to hear.
I wanted to share something with you and I’ll try not to be too, too descriptive and wordy, yet get my point clearly across:
Two days before Christmas, I took Weston (8) sledding @ Brandywine Creek State Park. He hit a mogul that, so I’m told, flipped him head-first into another mogul that knocked him cold. By the time word about and accident, and worse – that it was Wes – hit the top of the hill to me, precious time had passed for me to “rescue” my son. Upon Josita’s scream and delirious wave of her arms, I ran down the iciest hill in the world, without the slightest slip, and – as if there was a magnetic attraction (I couldn’t see him for the steep hill blind spot) – straight to Weston. All the way down, I screamed, “Don’t touch him,” to all the others racing over to him, for fear of a back injury. He was face into the ground, but moving and groaning.
Without hesitation and without touching a hand on anything but his cheek (I think I kissed him and told him that Mama was here), I demanded to him that he move his legs, then his arms. He performed brilliantly, praise God alone. Then, I slowly turned him to his right side. Blood was coming out of his nose, and he could only groan a faint cry. I felt like muscles in me instantaneously protruded like a transformation into a motherly version of The Incredible Hulk as I lifted the 80lb boy into my arms, keeping him on that same right side for fear of impending back/neck injury. Everyone just stepped back and cleared a path straight up the icy hill for me. I could only go so far before my strength gave way.
Weston, still not responding other than a faint groan, was laid back into a soft spot in the snow I spotted. I prayed and took a deep breath, and prepared to re-lift him for the next part of the trek up the hill, this time in the snowy part which would be easier, I thought. A man came running with a rescue sled and I placed Wes on his same right side atop the sled. The man ended up wrapping the pull-rope around his chest to pull Weston up the hill. My Dad then met me with another sled. I made the transfer, Weston still barely uttering a groan.
I explicitly told the other three children to load the Expedition with the sleds and to get their seat belts on, and wait. They did just that. Gently, Weston was placed into the truck and his seat belt on. Within seconds, he was leaning against his sister’s shoulder, and had little response.
By the time I arrived at the hospital, Weston had vomited 3 times……I tell you this because vomiting after a head injury often means that there is blood on the brain, which would require immediate surgery. A triage team swept him away from me and the word, “concussion,” flew around the team. Stat CT scan was yelled and they tried hard to arouse Weston to determine if he knew what happened, his name, who the president was, where he was, etc……….they were trying to assess the impact of the brain injury based on his ability to answer these questions. He had some immediate-only memory loss…..not knowing what happened, not remembering sledding, not remembering how he got to the hospital, not remembering me carrying him or being pulled up the hill. BUT, he knew that Obama was president and that he was in the all-to-familiar hospital. He recognized it! He could barely talk, but he WAS talking.
The word, “concussion,” put fear in him. He was able to whisper out a question that we could barely understand….”will I be in a wheelchair forever?” This was my hardest moment….to see his fear. But, I knew he could move all his limbs and so did the triage team. When we finally understood him, I emphatically stated, “absolutely not! You WILL play football again and you will walk and play soccer. You WILL be fine.” Weston was scared, bad. But, he couldn’t really talk….and he had no idea how he even ended up here………him immediately memory was gone.
It was a black hole.
The fear became more real to him. Again, he hears “concussion,” in the flurry of activity with triage team all around him doing different things all over his body. I was helpless, with the exception of prayer and a power that I felt I was putting into him (hard to explain). Everyone was sort of yelling/talking around him simultaneously, like organized chaos. He talked again, and everyone hushed. His eyes closed, Weston softly questioned, “Just like Westbrook?” The whole team realized they had a link to keep Wes calm. “Westbrook” became Weston’s “point person” on whom he drew confidence (besides me, of course!). The raced him off to the CT scan, telling him, “Weston, you’re gonna get the painless test Westbrook had right after his injury.” Coming back, it was, “Weston, Westbrook had to answer a lot of questions, so let’s ask you some too.” Weston continued to vomit – a bad, bad sign. So, then it was, “Weston, Westbrook needed medicine to get him better after his concussion, so let’s start yours now so you’ll stop vomiting.” A personal trainer on the triage team got right down in Weston’s face and told him that Westbrook fought out of this, and that Weston would too. The doc told him that Westbrook WOULD probably play football this weekend, and that Weston WOULD NOT be far behind him when he can go back to his sports.
Basically, everything happens for a reason. Weston was spared brain bleed, but suffered a bad concussion. He still has memory loss today (he can’t remember what we just said, or what he just asked for, or the answer to recent questions), but his football cards was the first thing he wanted when he got home. WestBROOK suffered a concussion…..and little does he know that his recovery was being watched carefully by a little 8-year-old boy that thinks the world of him. And, that same boy would identify with WestBROOK’s plight and draw on strength from it, just when he needed it most as he suffered his own concussion. WestON continues to point out all of his Westbrook photos in his football card collection – they’re in the front of his book…………..
I thought you might be interested in this story, in that, these men in sports have a deeper affect on their little boy fans than they might ever realized. WestBROOK inspired WestON to be brave, and to know that he, too, will get through a terrifying time.
I think I’ll buy Weston a signed photo of Westbrook at the Sport Collectibles store at the mall, if they have one there at an affordable price. Just prior to the concussion, Weston took everyone out of his bedroom EXCEPT his NFL stuff. It couldn’t be more perfect to match his room and continue offering inspiration.
Enjoy YOUR boys……..