Lachie's Story: Sport and Concussion

August 21, 2022

BIA Week

As a part of Brain Injury Awareness Week in 2022, BIAT caught up with Tasmanian surf ironman athlete Lachie.

A brief backstory of you (name, age, location) and your sport, how you got involved, what you love, etc.

There are not many sports where you can have fun at the beach with your friends while also providing an important, potentially life-saving community service. Luckily, I’ve been involved in Surf Life Saving for as long as I can remember. I’m a sixteen year old and a proudly Tasmanian competitive Surf Ironman. I love long summer days at the beach having fun in the surf.

How did you experience your concussion/s – what happened, when did it happen?

Competing in such an unpredictable environment has challenges, solid fibreglass craft, people and waves sometimes don’t mix. Around two years ago I was hit in the head by a rogue board in the wave zone while at training.  

What were the immediate, short term and long term impacts of your concussion?

Immediately I didn’t think much of it, but it became obvious in the following hours that the seemingly innocuous hit in the head wasn’t just a moment to "toughen up" but something that could become an issue for me. Over the next few days I experienced some crushing headaches and dull pains, keeping me out of the water for a week.

Have there been any wider impacts following your concussion in terms of ability to communicate, recovery, return to sport?

After my concussion, the psychological barrier of getting back in the water, even though my whole life revolved around this sport, was still great. Regaining my confidence in the water only weeks out from major state and national competition while also trying to make up for lost time out of the water.  

Would you like to share any message or feedback to other athletes?

Concussions aren’t just time to "toughen up". It's important to take them seriously, whether big or small, as the impacts aren't always known.

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