My inevitable concussion

The Spectrum

It was a sand court. The net sagged in the middle, like most outdoor nets do from use and exposure to the elements. The sky was filled with white puffy clouds, and the glaring rays from the sun made it difficult to see the ball as it volleyed back and forth.

The ball soared over the net and veered to the right, nearing the out-of-bounds line. I sprang into action and dove for the ball. A fellow teammate, whom I had just met 20 minutes prior, also dove. He got there first. Instead of my forearms connecting with the ball, his elbow connected with my skull.

I spent two hours in the emergency room that night. I left with a general head injury, a suggestion to take pain medication and a promise to my doctor that I wouldn't play volleyball (or really anything that could end with me being knocked in the head) for a few weeks.

I kept my promise and stayed off the court for those few weeks. But my friends and I played volleyball in an intramural league that competed once a week at Alumni, so I was itching to play again. I figured I had met my injury quota for the season.

I was wrong.

My first game back, I watched from the front row of the court as the ball zoomed over my head. I turned around to see if my teammates needed help, and the ball ricocheted off of my teammate's arms and directly into my face.

I wobbled unsteadily for a few seconds as it felt like stars spun around me like in the cartoons, and when the gym came into focus again, I realized that everyone was cheering. I found that odd because my own teammate had just pummeled me in the face.

It turned out that one of my other teammates was able to hit the ball over the net after it hit me and scored on our opposing team.

My team scored a point off of my face.

We've been playing intramural volleyball ever since. It's a great way to spend time with friends and fit some exercise into our hectic schedules. Our team song is "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore and must be played and rapped to before every game. We collaborated to make team shirts and have expanded our team to include new friends each semester.

Fall 2013 registration for intramural sports is now open, and students who are interested in joining a team can find more information in the recreation section of There are eight different leagues that students can join and I highly recommend anyone who is interested in sports on a recreational level join.

Volleyball once a week is my escape. Sometimes it's difficult to fit a trip to the gym in your schedule or seemingly impossible to have more than 20 minutes to yourself when living in the dorms. Hitting that ball over the net is my outlet. Even if I have two exams the next day or I'm not feeling well, I still want to be out on that court with my teammates.

It's a running joke that I will get hurt at some point in the season. Given how naturally clumsy and accident-prone I am, I wouldn't be surprised if I was hit in the head again this year - and not necessarily on the court. I could walk into a door, a pole or even a person.

UB offers health services in Michael Hall on South Campus if you ever find yourself in a position where you need to seek medical help. Michael Hall is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is open until 7 p.m. on Mondays. There is also an after-hours message that can direct you if you call when the hall is closed. If you're accident-prone like I am, you can call Michael Hall to make an appointment or seek medical advice.

One thing I've learned from being clumsy is that you need to be able to laugh at yourself. If I hadn't been able to laugh with my teammates about scoring a point off of my face, we might not still be together playing today. A bit of clumsiness keeps me humble. A scrape here, a concussion there - it's all in good fun.