Concussions Cause Bartow Linebacker Rico Mathis to Quit Sport
Fri. August 24, 2012 at 1:04 a.m. | By Solange Reyner
By SOLANGE REYNER
LAKELAND | Rico Mathis, a starting linebacker for Bartow who had gauged interest from some Division I programs, won't play football this year as he works to improve his health.
The senior said this week that he was still feeling the lingering effects of two concussions he suffered last season and decided with his family and doctor that it was best to step away from the sport.
"I realize it's better for my health than to sacrifice my life over it," Mathis said. "It was a hard decision because football is my bread and butter."
Mathis said he suffered his first concussion during the second game of the season last year. He said he didn't tell his coaches or parents about it because he wanted to continue to play. Soon after, he said he started to feel a lot of pressure in his head. The night he suffered his first concussion, he said he got home and vomited. From then on, he also had trouble sleeping at night.
"It would hurt so bad and I had problems seeing, too. But it's better now."
All those symptoms are ones reported by athletes in reference to concussions. So are: balance problem or dizziness, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to noise, feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy, concentration or memory problems and confusion.
Bartow coach Brett Biggs said his staff knew that Mathis suffered from chronic migraines but weren't aware of the concussions.
"Ever since I got here, he had the migraines, but we monitored him a lot," Biggs said. "There were times when we had to sit him, and we did."