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Rachel Bigelow Got a Concussion!

April 11, 2009   

Rachel Bigelow, what can we say about Rachel Bigelow. She is not a gigolo. But more importantly, she has a low center of gravity. Dangerously low. Especially if you have a high center of gravity (mine’s in my ear). I got into an argument with her one time and the next thing I knew I didn’t have any legs anymore because she tackled them and they were just gone. So now I leglessly crawl away when I see her coming towards me. But even though I cannot physically retaliate, I can still get revenge by writing about her getting a concussion on this blog. Nerd revenge!

Hamilton has a men's and women’s Rugby team. Rugby’s like football, except there’s no body armor in Rugby and if you play you automatically get drenched in mud, even if you’re playing indoors. You get points for running the ball to the other team’s line and for beating the other team to death. As a naturally tackle-ish and sadistic person, Rachel is ideal for Rugby. But during a scrimmage two days ago, Rachel got tackled particularly hard. At least she thinks she did –

“I had the ball in my hands and the next thing I knew I was on my back and I heard my spine crack. You’re supposed to hit the ground incrementally when you get tackled: knees, hips, shoulders. But I landed on my head. I’m not actually sure if I got tackled. Maybe a gazelle hit me…”

It was a little hard to follow Rachel’s story because she was still recovering from the concussion; she couldn’t really look at things for longer than a second and kept talking to my food instead of me. But as I understood it, she finished her scrimmage and went to a meeting at her church –

“I began to worry about having a concussion when I got to church. I had a pretty bad headache. I wanted some ibuprofen but I remember reading that ibuprofen can make a concussion worse, so I just took some aspirin.”

Rachel was right that ibuprofen can increase concussive damage by promoting bleeding. This is a common property of anticoagulants. Anticoagulants like aspirin. Whoops! Rachel’s pretty smart though so she probably won’t need that part of her brain. Indeed, when she got back to Hamilton she was gaining some important insights from her concussion –

“I figured out what God’s voice sounded like. It’s Mufasa’s voice from the Lion King.”

I will agree that James Earl Jones is God, or at least some avatar of God. Rachel had a meeting with her advisor early in the morning, but she was worried about dying if she went to sleep. She didn’t think it was likely, but left a note donating her splattered brain to science in case she expired during the night.

Although she survived, she slept through her advising appointment and had to rush to her economics class. During class she began to wonder if she should seek medical attention –

“I usually zone out during econ but this time was different. I couldn’t even hold my head up and I was drooling and stuff.”

When she told her mom about all of this, she told Rachel that if she didn’t get to a doctor that day she would have her arrested and sent to the hospital in chains. Rachel went to a clinic and underwent testing for a concussion, which involves doing things like balancing on one foot, swallowing, and pursing her lips while puffing out her cheeks. Rachel could complete every maneuver but the last one, which she doubted she could do even with a fully operational brain (try it, it’s hard!). The doctor advised Rachel to quit Rugby because it was inherently dangerous, and to at least wait awhile to heal if she planned to keep playing.

Today’s Shout-Out! goes to Rachel Bigelow (2010) for being a good sport and letting me write about her. Her only worry was that the story would be anti-climatic. It’s not though because suddenly