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Jared Weiner shares his story of why we must be more aware of head injuries

Jared Weiner competing at the NY Open. Photo: Erin Herle
Jared Weiner competing at the NY Open. Photo: Erin Herle

Sometimes when training Jiu-Jitsu, there are injuries. Much like any other physical activity, there is always the potential injury and with one black belt, he has something to share about his.

Jared Weiner, head instructor of GMA BJJ United in Philadelphia, PA, has had his fair share of injuries in his nearly twenty years of training. But recently, an initial head injury at a tournament, compounded with a training injury on the mats at home, has made him push for a better awareness of how to handle these types of injuries.

Hear his story and share it to spread the awareness of these cases that we sometimes try to ignore:

“I was always the first person to tell someone to suck it up and fight through the pain, no matter what the circumstance was. If we were training for a tournament winning was the only thing that mattered. I can honestly look back and say that was a bad mentality and we are very lucky more serious injuries didn’t transpire over the years.

The back story: On July 19, I was in the finals of the IBJJF NY Summer Open. My opponent executed a beautiful single leg, he lifted me up and my head bounced off the mat. I saw the “camera flash” but kept fighting (This had no outcome on the match, my opponent won with great positions, and I don’t want to take away from his victory). Immediately after the match I became very nauseous and dizzy. I found myself dry heaving in the bathroom, and I wasn’t sure how I ended up there. That night I continued to throw up and feel “off” but I thought I was coming down with the flu and left it at that. That was HUGE mistake number 1.

4_GB72_StampSiteFast forward to exactly one week later: I was still feeling a little “off” but training hard anyways. All I knew was I had the Chicago Open coming up and I had to win coming off that loss in NY. During that training session I was accidentally kneed in the jaw by one of my students and knocked out cold. I have very little recollection of the actual hit, but I do recall coming to and asking what happened. I was  not really sure what was going on but I decided to keep training anyways because if I missed a day of practice (in  my mind) I would be soft and It might effect the outcome in Chicago. HUGE mistake number 2.

Fast forward to August 3: I finally decided to go to the hospital to see what was going on with me, because since the day I was knocked out, I felt light headed 24/7.  I was experiencing horrible headaches and scalp pain. I had crazy pressure in my left eye, and I was not able to sleep. Any type of light was hurting my eyes, and worst of all I became sad, emotionless, and suffered memory loss. I was scared as I never felt like this before, and I didn’t know what was going on with me.

I remember the doctor being really cool and trying to talk MMA and BJJ with me.  She then advised me that I suffered two back-to-back concussions within a week and that is rare and extremely dangerous. She told me it could have been fatal to get two right on top of each other. She said it will take time but I should feel normal again eventually. EVENTUALLY.

So here I am almost three months later still stuck in this “fog”. My headaches are not as severe, but I am still walking around light-headed and really “off”. I have not been able to train live, only teach, but even that is very difficult for me these days. A lot of things have been put in perspective for me over the last three months. The last thing on my mind is medals and tournaments, but being well for my daughter and family is my priority. This has been a nightmare for me, and people who have never experienced a head injury before never really seem to understand, and its very frustrating for me. I may seem normal, and look normal, but I feel far from normal.

I’m hoping to bring some awareness to head injuries in our sport and they are to be taken very seriously. Take some time and educate yourself on the topic and if you are ever feeling “off” from a head shot get checked out.”

Follow more of Jared Weiner and his recovery or learn more about BJJ United at www.bjjunited.com

 

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  1. Gregimbolo Averitt · Edit

    Heal well man! Thank you for sharing your story (: I am a nurse and I have cared for many patients in comas. There is nothing more sad thank person in a coma. They are not dead and they are not alive. I cannot work in the I'm anymore because of this. I saw 20 year olds come in almost every day. Head injury awareness cannot get enough exposure! Great work!

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  2. Courtney Trabon Lennon · Edit

    Thank you for sharing your story. I know exactly how you feel as I am an ex pro athlete. I fell on my face/heAd Sept. 11. And blacked out and haven't been the same since. I am slowly getting better. Rest has been the answer so far for

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