Necessary Roughness: Our College Pick

Longreads

Journey Bailey played football for years and, after one concussion too many, came to in a hospital bed with a subdural hematoma. In his searing essay, Bailey writes about a football culture that kept him from revealing his symptoms to coaches who downplayed the seriousness of concussions. The power of Bailey’s writing comes from his voice. He’s a football player talking to other football players. He’s not a doctor or a concerned parent or an aging former athlete. He’s a a guy who speaks the language of locker rooms and long school-bus rides to away games. “[T]he next time you’re out on that field pushing for that first down or tackling that running back and you start to see stars, feel dizzy, or develop a headache that won’t go away, don’t ignore the signs in order to stay in the game,” he urges his fellow players. “Think about having tubes…

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