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Following Mahomes' injury, athletes talk concussion healing process

Football Practice
Posted at 5:23 PM, Jan 18, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There is no guaranteed recovery time when it comes to concussions, and every person responds differently. Sam Butler, an Olathe West High School senior and football player, knows that all too well.

"I hit someone and I blacked out, or I didn't know a certain hit that, 'Oh, I got a concussion,'" Butler said.

Tyler Weeks, a former high school athlete, also has had a concussion diagnosis. His came following a basketball game at summer camp.

"I think I was 17 when it happened, playing basketball went up for your layup and then defenders came in. We just collide and I ended up on the concrete and hit my head pretty hard," Weeks said.

Butler soon began experiencing symptoms following his collision.

"The streetlights, flowers on the bus just started to really bother me," Butler said. "And then I got sick on the bus, which was not a fun experience."

RELATED: KC metro experts explain Mahomes' potential concussion diagnosis

Weeks said he had to wait about three weeks before being cleared to practice again.

Rest, according to Butler, is about the "only thing" an athlete can do once that diagnosis is made.

"That's what kind of makes it difficult," Butler said.

So when Weeks saw Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes go down on Sunday in the AFC Divisional playoff game against the Cleveland Browns, he said he recognized what might be happening.

"I knew what he was going through because, I mean, when I first got up, that's exactly what happened," Weeks said. "You try to start walking ... and your feet Just go everywhere, and you can't even walk a straight line."

Fans speculated online that because Mahomes didn't hit his head on the ground, he must not have a concussion. But Dr. Sarah Gibbons, a neurologist with Saint Luke's Health System, said that's not true.

"I've even had patients that we're in a motor vehicle accident, and they didn't hit their head on the steering wheel or the seat, but they had that acceleration, deceleration and got whiplash," Gibbons, who works at Saint Luke's Marion Bloch Nueroscience Institute, said. "And I've had patients telling me that providers physicians told them, 'Oh, you didn't have a concussion. You didn't hit your head,' and that is a big myth, big misconception."

Both athletes said they hope Mahomes recovers quickly from Sunday's injury.

"I think the most important thing is if it is a concussion, you really have to be careful about, you know – I really wanted to get back in the field as quick as possible, but I knew that it wasn't smart for me to get back until I'm ready," Butler said.

Officials have not yet said if Mahomes has been diagnosed with a concussion.