Memory Loss and Lacrosse

Caitlyn Wilson, Staff Writer

What happened?

A girl named Sidney Vasquez, 16 years old, who is on the girl’s lacrosse team at Santiago high school was hit with a lacrosse stick on her head giving her her third concussion. She was not wearing a helmet, in fact, no one on the field was wearing a helmet. Sidney is a junior at Santiago high school who has a high GPA. Her coaches have said that they believe that Sidney will go far in lacrosse. Sidney has played lacrosse competitively for years and she had suffered two concussions before this third concussion.

Her parents were at the game when she was hit in the head by an opposing player’s stick. Sidney had lost her memory due to the concussion and she was put into the Orange County Children’s hospital. The extent of her memory loss was that she couldn’t remember her own name, who her parents were, who her closest friends were, who her boyfriend was, where she was at, or where she went to school. She didn’t forget how to speak or how to walk, but it was still scary for her parents, family, and close friends. Her recovery has been documented by her father on Facebook, posting updates about her memory recovery and her progress. 

Her father, Carlos Vasquez, told CBSLA Reporter Brittney Hopper, “What has happened in the last five days is tormenting and sad. To see somebody who is so funny, bright, and charismatic go to a point where she doesn’t remember her friends or family,”

What could have stopped it from occurring?

Something that could have stopped Sidney’s concussion and subsequent memory loss would have been to wear a helmet. There are no rules regarding helmets for the girl’s lacrosse team. A player on the JV lacrosse team told me, “If you have a history of head injury then it is strongly recommended that you wear a helmet.” Sidney had two concussions before she lost her memory due to a third, so why wasn’t she wearing a helmet? Perhaps if she had been wearing a helmet all of this could have been avoided. 

A private neurosurgeon who isn’t treating Syndey, Dr. Parham Yashar has said that wearing a helmet in high contact or contact sports, especially in adolescence, is one of the best ways to avoid a concussion. “I think it is really important that we focus on children because any kind of head injury especially repeatedly can put them at risk for additional injuries in the future so it is very important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and do what we can in prevention is really the number one step in concussion care,” Yashar said.