It’s not good when a first-round draft pick in the NFL is known for getting more concussions than championship rings.
That was quarterback David Carr’s reality. The Houston Texans chose Carr, a star at Fresno State, first overall in the 2002 draft. In five brutal seasons behind a makeshift expansion team offensive line, Carr was sacked 249 times. He signed with the Carolina Panthers in 2007.
I had a chance to talk to him about his concussions when I worked for the Greensboro (N.C.) News & Record and Associated Press.
Carr suffered at least three concussions with Houston, and at least one with Carolina. I asked him about the injuries once, and he categorized each hit as distinct from the others. Once, in Tennessee, he said, I took a hit, and sat up and looked around the stadium.
I wasn’t sure which stadium we were in, he said, but I knew it wasn’t ours.
Carr went on to play four more seasons, and was always a favorite player of mine. I’ve spoken out about the NFL’s treatment of head trauma, but I don’t really have a solution. Especially when the epidemic hits close to home, or even closer, as it turns out …
1. When did I get a concussion?
You were just 8, Camdyn. Wow, it’s hard to believe.
Camdyn helped fill in on a U9 girls team I coached with Charlotte United. Mostly, the parents didn’t mind her playing and not paying, because mostly she played goalkeeper, which mean their daughters didn’t have to.
It was cool, though, for the experience, and the girls on the team loved her.
We were playing a inter-club match without referees. Things got kind of chippy. An opposing player shoved Camdyn – not anything particularly dirty. On Camdyn’s way down, though, she caught a teammate’s knee to the side of the head.
Parents said Camdyn was out cold before she hit the ground.
I missed the whole thing. Camdyn got up, and stumbled to me on the sideline. I feel dizzy, she said, with this terrified look on on her face. I lowered her to the ground, and several minutes later, they stopped the game.
Luckily there was a doctor in the house.
I held together coolly as an ambulance arrived and medics strapped Camdyn to a gurney. Every time she tried to sit up, she got dizzy, and she couldn’t see out of one eye. She was diagnosed with a concussion in the ER, and was out of soccer for a week.
One of her teammates asked her mom to please follow the ambulance to make sure Camdyn was okay. I’ll always remember that!
2. Do NFL players wear jewelry?
They do ever. This perplexes me, as a man who can’t even type this post on a Lenovo without taking off his watch and sometimes even his socks.
Meanwhile, a mean old ref will make a 7-year-old girl sit out if she wears earrings on the soccer field, or has the wristband from an amusement park on her wrist. The NFL plays gestapo on everything from sock color to brand names on helmet shields.
Heck, they even tried to keep Steelers receiver Antonio Brown from returning to the field until he changed his cleats. His offending kicks? A tribute to boxer Muhammad Ali. He’d have been better off wearing a gold medallion of the champ’s mug.
Oh, and then this happened in Denver last season.
3. Does Mallory Weber play for the USWNT?
She doesn’t, but she’s got a pretty good soccer life nonetheless.
Mallory starred collegiately at Penn State, and now plays for Portland Thorns FC. I think she ought to be on the U.S. Women’s national team, but that’s pretty stiff competition. (I think Madison should be there, too.)
A captain at Penn State, Mallory also played on the CONCACAF U20 team, and made the assist on the winning goal against Duke in the College Cup final in 2015. These tweets, though, might tell you why I think she’s pretty awesome.
— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) March 30, 2017
And especially …
When you’re waiting for them to call your number at In-N-Out. 😜🍔 pic.twitter.com/iUK2EUzmRO
— SBE (@StephBeEyePhoto) May 28, 2017
4. Is there such a thing as wild cows?
Speaking of In and Out Burgers …
According to the Wild Cattle Conservation, most wild cow species are listed in the IUCN Red Data Book, which lists all threatened species. The mighty Auroch, which I wrote about on Go Ask Daddy before, was twice as big as a modern-day bull.
But he went extinct in 1627, my freshman year in college. (Beat you to it, kids.)
Cows as we know them have never been wild. They’ve always been domesticated, for meat or milk. Bison, water buffalo, and yaks run wild in some capacity, taking with them the spirit of the Auroch and his little cousins, the domesticated cow, with them.
So, unless vegans set all the domesticated cows free … wow, would that be a wild scene.
5. When will have another hurricane in Charlotte?
A storm still at hurricane strength 177 miles (as the crow – or perhaps pelican? – flies) inland from where it made landfall? That’s about as rare as a herd of feral Holsteins roaming the mean streets of East Charlotte.
Hugo, a category 4 storm with winds of 135 mph when it hit Charleston, S.C., stayed a hurricane all the way to the N.C. foothills. It passed through Charlotte as a category 2, with sustained winds of 96-110 mph.
We actually had a tropical storm in the mountains. You just don’t expect a storm to pack that kind of punch that far inland! It was like the time your dad finished second in a hamburger eating contest – even though he’d just had lunch. #anomaly
In 1935, an unnamed storm struck within 150 miles of Charlotte with max winds of 184 mph. Homefacts.com rates Charlotte a very low risk for hurricanes. I was in high school then, and remember waking up to wind and rain pounding my windows.
I looked for my cat, Cybill, who sat in the middle of the room licking her paws. She probably knew it was coming. The power went out, and we listened for updates on WBT radio. It Takes Two by Marvin Gaye and Kim Winston played between updates.
I remember wondering why we were listening to peppy 60s music when no one knew what was outside our walls! (I realized the irony of Hugo’s category 2 status much later). I went out in the storm, just to see how it felt.
Everything had a greenish hue, and I could smell salt water in the air. It was impossible to tell which direction the wind came from. It was all around. I heard later that seabirds got caught in the winds and wound up in Charlotte.
Quickly as it struck, Hugo was gone. I thought it was the eye of the storm, but it was the end of it, for us. We walked through the neighborhood to see a haphazard pattern of heavily damaged homes and others untouched.
We missed two weeks of school, with power lines down everywhere and structural damage. We lost our spring break that year, and even had a feeble protest the day before the break was supposed to start! Everything seemed to get canceled for months after.
(Years later, my sister and I joked that anything postponed was due to Hurricane Hugo, because we’d heard it so much.)
It’s not likely another storm will come this way. It was scary and costly, but kind of cool to live through, you know? Easy for me to say, when we had one small tree downed in our yard to show for it.
Here’s hoping the likelihood of Mallory Weber joining you on the USWNT is far greater than another hurricane here – and that Camdyn getting another concussion is far lower!