My superstition that everything happens for a reason is under routine check; as I crawl backwards through my concussion recovery. Although my expectations were to be an Environmental Engineer this year, I am starting to warm up to coaching hockey. I am continually learning little nuances, all the time. That, at this point, are just second nature to me.  On a quick side note; it might seem insane, but I think I learned more valuable life lessons playing hockey than I ever did in school.  Of course many other places, as well. I have a large family that I am proud to be a part of. Now, I simply am an advocate to teach our youth how to play the game safely. 

It is common for people to think I should hate hockey (I was injured a year ago playing the sport I love) but to be honest, I don’t think I would be able to be so positive or handle this present situation, without it.  I mean each year we had to meet and learn how to work with 15-20 new kids.  A hockey team must work together or else, as I would say now, the system would have fundamental inefficiencies.  Of course, I was lucky to have my dad coaching me, throughout my youth.  He played in the NHL, for a while, so when he was at the rink, it simply was to give back, not to win. He taught me the values of life through lessons in hockey. He cared that my teammates and I had fun, encouraged us to try new things, even if we messed up, and only raised his voice if we were being unsportsmanlike or a vicious play took place on the ice. He cared about everyone’s safety… on our team and the other teams. I, to this day, love hockey and that is because I was never pushed into it... if anything I was pushed away from being a hockey player.  Which I am happy about because I will wake up any morning, in the future, just to get that morning skate. When the sharp crisp crunch between the ice and my blades echo through the vacant arena, an unparalleled satisfaction overcomes my sense of life. It is a place I will always be able to find peace, as well as an attainable and vivid memory, to my imagination.

Mom, I learned and continue to gain invaluable knowledge from you, as well! I love you both so much. Thank you guys for providing me such a great example of how to treat other people. I, truly, am grateful for the things that just seem so natural to me and the love you guys allowed me to find.

An example of a lesson I learned playing hockey:

When I was little I was one of the better players on my team and I remember getting off for a shift and I had 3 of our 3 goals.  I was thinking what would this team do without me... and then I realized I was sitting on the bench and I only play 1/3 of the game. I thought “I don’t even have an effect on more than half of the game.” At that moment, I realized it is really a team effort; just like our need of global cohesion to combat climate change… it literally does not matter who scores the points. It matters that we can work together and create an efficient system to attain our common goals.  I’m sure my dad had said this to me, many times, but this was a major self-realization in my life.

I think this is an article I will write in the future, what I learned in hockey. I love the thrill but that’s not why I would lace my skates up again.  I love the creativity and the self-expression I feel when I handle the puck.  Injuries happen everywhere. I just did not handle my situation properly. I didn’t know at the time, but I do feel stupid now.  I want to spread the awareness of head injuries so young hockey players do not make the same mistake I did.  We need to care about one another and make sure our communities continue working to be more safe and conscientious about head injuries.  I wish so often I made different choices. I do not want anyone else to have to wake up every morning wishing they were faking the past year of their life, because it is hard to believe what my experience has become. That’s such a weird and unsettling thought to have, BELIEVE ME. One more side not, sorry… Let’s get rid of blind trust in anyone, please I promise it is really a FANTASTIC idea.

I write to express my love, so please do not feel bad for me – I am thoroughly enjoying tapping into my creativity.  Expressing myself is good for my recovery and I hope I’ll be able to help some people find a little joy. It’s not always easy to be open about something so personal to my existence, but it’s hard to be embarrassed right now when we have rhetoric from bigots funneling around.

Let’s show people that love will win. Let’s allow that person to change lanes, instead of speeding up, to make everyone’s life a little less stressful. Let’s collect and separate our bottles to give them to our community members, who dig through the trash to get them. Let’s connect our hearts to our actions. Let’s show that we have impeccable values, as global citizens. Let’s be the change our grandchildren will be proud of. Let’s listen to John Lennon and simply “give peace a chance.”

 If you enjoyed this article, would you mind sharing it with your friends, family, and social media connections? I am trying to spread the awareness and the reality that lie beneath traumatic brain injuries, out into the public.

I am also keeping a daily journal of simple free writing to access my creativity and document the healing process, at MyConcussionRecovery.com. Please excuse any weird grammar... my brain is retraining itself! I will be an adequate writer once again, just give me some time!

Published by Patrick Bridgman