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Beyond the Concussion: Local athlete suffers from lingering effects

Updated: Monday, November 4 2013, 06:50 PM EST

By Rich Pierce 

November 4, 2013 

Harrison County, Oh

Over the last several years the association between football and head injuries has become clearer. One former Ohio Valley football player had his dreams of gridiron glory cut short because of concussions.

Jake Carman always wanted to play football, but his parents were hesitant. He persisted and eventually his parents allowed him to play. Now, he is dealing with lingering effects from multiple concussions during his playing career.

“I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t know even what team I played for. I just knew I had a black jersey on,” Carman said.

He suffered his first concussion in seventh grade, playing for Harrison Central. He had three more over the course of the next three years. After transferring to Indian Creek, Carman sustained his fourth concussion. It was then that doctors told him to stop playing.

“He wanted to get back in the game. Even at the hospital an intern said, ‘Jake, are you anxious to get back in the game?’ Jake said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘If you do, you could die,’” Jake’s mother Julia Carman said.

Watching his friends every Friday do what he no longer can is difficult.

“Realizing the fact that I’m not going to play football again or touch a football ever again […] I sat there and figured everything happens for a reason. There are other things out there.  Football was everything to me. But, there’s so much more than high school,” Carman said.

Jake was a fullback, linebacker and nose tackle. He said his style of play, head down and full speed ahead, was ultimately the cause. The effects are felt every day.

“I still walk into the wrong classrooms. The teachers will be talking about something one day, then the next day, I won’t remember a bit of it,” Carman said.

He is nervous for the future but says he cannot change the past.

“What happens when you can’t remember? What happens when you have early onset of Alzheimer’s? What happens when you can’t remember who your family is?” Carman said.

His father, Jim, said he hopes the effects on Jake will not last as long as he fears.

“He really wanted to do this. But, like all parents, there’s no perfect parent handbook and you do make mistakes. But it’s hurtful and worrisome to you when it happens to one of your children and you made a mistake,” Jim Carman said.

Jake is trying to stay positive.

“Everything happens for a reason and there’s things down the road that are going to happen because that happened,” he said. 

Beyond the Concussion: Local athlete suffers from lingering effects

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