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My Friend Is Concussed, Now What?

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There will come a time in every man’s life when he must ask himself a very specific question. This question, and how he chooses to answer it, will define him. The way men act in light of this question shows our moral strength, emotional character, and mental determination.

“Should I take my friend to the hospital.”

The answer, at least in my case, is “I don’t know, probably. But I’m pretty sure it’s fine.” Last weekend I was faced with this question, and I am proud to say I acted exactly as everyone would have expected me to act.

My tale begins on a Friday afternoon. It is my good friend Josh’s birthday, and we decide to go to the local bar where our fraternity brother was tending. Things start off as well as one would expect. The chugging of copious amounts of whiskey cokes and the taking of Fireball shots followed, which I would quickly like to point out has never led to anything good. Honestly, Fireball shots are almost always a mistake. If not because of the actions that follow those shots, then at least the taste. I mean Jesus Christ, but I digress.

We reach the point where Josh is well and shitfaced. We decide to go out to the beer garden and take a smoke break. Josh is stumbling and bumbling, and I’m slightly soberer, so I’m laughing my ass off. I’m thinking that this kid will be cashed by 8:00 p.m. and won’t even be able to make it to the party we were having later that evening. This is when we reach a literal tipping point. Josh is on the phone with his girlfriend, who is trying with very little success to find out where he is, when all of a sudden he stands up straight, puts his phone to his side, and just fucking timbers into the nearby table.

I’m not great with metaphors, but Josh hits his head on that table like a semi plowing into a tree. Everyone near us abruptly stops, and after a few moments Josh begins reaching his hand out for me to help him up. I help him up, but he has difficulty standing on his own. I ask him if he knows what just happened and he says no. I start to worry a bit, but I’m also pretty drunk, so I’m not sure if I’m in the right mindset to take charge of the situation. The debate begins whether he has a concussion, is just very drunk, or more likely both.

Then some schmuck in a different house starts telling me his eyes either aren’t dilated or are dilated too much, I don’t really remember, and how I should at least take him to the student health center. In my mind, this seemed like a pretty unlikely scenario since I really didn’t feel like carrying him across campus while I was drunk. Then a genius thought springs to mind: Let’s find our pre-med brother. He would definitely know what to do. Fuck yeah, I’m smart.

He had already gone to a different bar, so shit… I was out of ideas, so me and two other brothers grab his hands and feet and start carrying him back to the chapter house. At this point it would also be good to mention that, at that time, sorority recruitment was going on, and we walked past several groups of dozens of freshmen girls, all of whom were taking videos of the three guys carrying a passed-out dude at 7:08 p.m.

We eventually reach the house after a fair amount of difficulty, a few droppings, and hearing several less than helpful suggestions being shouted from balconies, ranging from “Give him some milk” to “Dunk him in water until he wakes up.” At this point I was pretty beat, so I called his girlfriend, told her she might need to watch Josh tonight, and got ready for the party that would start in a couple hours. I’m a good friend, but I’m not trying to waste my Friday night.

Josh ended up being fine. He did have a mild concussion, but nothing that a few Advil and completely ignoring what could possibly be a major problem (this apparently was like his fourth or fifth concussion) couldn’t solve. So, in the end, when you one day need to make the decision on whether or not to get one of your brothers medical attention, the answer is very clear: Maybe. I don’t know; I’m not a doctor.

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