Tulsa Teen Nearly Loses Life After Concussion
TULSA, Oklahoma - It all started Friday night, September 29th, at a Union versus Owasso football game.
"I just kept going and going. 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," said Union Football Player Keviyon Cooper.
"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 Keviyon's Mom, Shirley Cooper.
It was a double overtime win but after the game, Keviyon didn't feel like celebrating. His mom was told Keviyon was probably overheating. Maybe dehydrated.
"I do a quick evaluation and everything seems fine. He's alert, eyes nice and equal and reactive to light. He's just complaining of a severe headache," said Union Athletic Trainer Dan Newman.
"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," said Keviyon.
"Open up the right eye and I shine it down and his pupil's blown and I let it go ... open it up again and his pupil is completely blown," said Newman.
"They let us in and I see my son on the floor and he's incoherent, he's wailing his hands ... don't know what's going on and I'm like this is not overheating ... what's wrong with him," said Keviyon's mom.
Keviyon was rushed to Saint Francis and straight into surgery.
"Dr. Zhang was unreal. He spoke to us and the family. You know, Keviyon has a massive subdural hematoma on his brain stem on the right side and we have to relieve the pressure right now," Newman said.
3 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 4 doctors here to look at me that night before I went to the hospital. Could have went to sleep and possibly not waken up," 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, even soccer?
"When your child plays football and other high impact sports, you're undermining the life of your child. You're making your child less intelligent. It's as simple as that," said Forensic Pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu.
Dr. Bennet Omalu was 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. 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 said.
So he said once a brain cell is damaged, it's damaged.
Dr. Omalu wants parents to understand that before sending your child onto the field. He said this is not an attack on football or these other sports but starting a conversation and raising awareness.
Brandon Stanford is a parent and a coach of his son's football team. 12-year-old Braydon has suffered not one but two concussions playing football and now has decided to wait.
Stanford said his son told him, "...I want to play again but I think it's smart if I sit out next year, just to make sure. I don't want to have another concussion."
Keviyon doesn't have a choice. His football career is over. Instead, he'll focus on running track in the spring and heading to OU this fall.
"Just the fact that my child is ok. I'd give up the track, the football, just knowing that he can walk, talk. He didn't lose anything, no paralysis, he's not paralyzed, in a wheelchair ... that's enough for me," said Keviyon's mom.
As for the future of contact sports, trainer Dan Newman said education is critical.
He said to maybe not start tackle football until 6th or 7th grade to reduce injuries.