Concussions End Basketball Captain’s H.S. Career

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Matt Hovila was the captain of the Bloomington Jefferson Basketball team, but a hard hit ended his dreams of playing the game.

In January, the senior had to sit out the rest of the season after getting his third concussion.

“Especially with the senior year — it was the hardest thing I had to do was sit out of basketball,” said Hovila

“It was in the last minute of the game — I got elbowed right in the base of the skull area and it shot a pain up to my head. It was a bad pain. I never really felt it before,” said Hovila.

Hovila didn’t know he had a concussion right away, but hours later, things changed.

“I was really dizzy and headaches started coming on,” he said.

Unfortunately, he had already suffered two concussions while playing basketball.

“In January of ’05 … I took a charge and fell back and hit my head on the ground and then the kid landed on my head,” said Hovila. “I was out of about a month and came back a little too soon. About April or so, I wasn’t fully symptom-free yet and … me and another player collided and bump heads. I got the worse of that one.”

He saw four doctors before they could figure out what was going on.

“The biggest thing was the headache; I had some vision changes which I had to work through.”

There are 50,000 high school athletes get sports concussion annually in Minnesota and those numbers are only the reported cases that go to the emergency room.

According to the Minnesota State High School League, “if any player shows signs of a concussion … they must be taken out of the game … and they cannot return to the game until they’ve been cleared by a health care professional.”

Hovila offered his advice for other athletes who get concussions.

“The biggest thing is to wait until you’re symptom free to comeback and to make sure you communicate with doctors and coaches so they all understand,” he said.

Earlier in March, a new bill was introduced in the state legislature that would improve concussion management for youth athletes.

To learn more about concussions, click here to see the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota’s website.

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