AL HAMNIK: Hammond's concussed QB says he doesn't feel cheated

2013-09-24T17:30:00Z 2013-11-26T20:07:08Z AL HAMNIK: Hammond's concussed QB says he doesn't feel cheatedAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
September 24, 2013 5:30 pm  • 

Hammond quarterback Eric Schreiber Jr. was watching Boone Grove game film in the dark Sunday night. He had no choice.

He had to leave school Monday because of sensitivity to the lighting and a noise level that sounded like jackhammers to him.

The high school senior, who has been playing football since age 5, has a concussion and that's not the only bad news.

His playing days could be over.

Coach Eric Schreiber Sr. knows how much the sport means to his oldest son, who has played quarterback since the third grade and is being recruited by "four or five" Division II and III schools.

Eric Jr. was diagnosed Monday at Community Hospital's Concussion Clinic and must return in two weeks for his progress to be checked.

"There's like 20 symptoms they ask about and they give you a score for each one and Doc wants it at zero," said the elder Schreiber. "Right now, he's at 24. Worst case is people who come in there like in the 60s. That would mean a lot of head pain, throwing up, they can't sleep.

"He was a little bit below average in the Impact Test on the computer, which is a bunch of brain teasers with different scenarios and numbers that measure your accuracy and the time it takes you to do it."

The Schreibers are hoping the symptoms have disappeared when they return in two weeks.

If not, a decision will have to be made, one which young Schreiber is ready to accept if it means no football.

"We have discussed that. He knows he could be done," coach Schreiber said. "It's not worth the long-term damage."

The fact Eric Jr. has had concussion issues in the past does not bode well. Coach Schreiber said the boy "had his bell rung" once in the seventh grade, once in the eighth grade, once in the ninth grade, once in the 10th grade and then again this season.

Today, that's considered a concussion, thanks to a better public awareness.

You don't sit out a series or two, then return to the fray like football players did in the past.

"In the old days, you'd get headaches the next day but nothing that lingered. If you didn't have scrapes on your helmet, you weren't hittin' enough," Coach Schreiber recalled. "It's a totally different world now."

This is your brain that's been traumatized. Two aspirin and a good night's sleep is not the prescribed treatment.

Schreiber's youngest son, Payton, is a seventh-grader who has played injury-free football since age 5.

Eric Jr. is ready to accept his fate, saying he would attend a local commuter college if his playing career ended and do some coaching at the prep level.

"I'd still be around football," he said.

The symptoms, meanwhile, can't subside quick enough after landing head first on the ground against West Side last Friday. He was dizzy and couldn't regain his balance. His eyes looked dilated, according to coach Schreiber, who immediately pulled him from the game.

"The headaches bother me. I feel like I'm sick. Foggy," Eric said. "I have a little difficulty sleeping. I toss and turn. It takes me like an hour or two to fall asleep.

"This comes with playing football. It's part of the game so you can't really say you've been cheated."

In two weeks, he'll know whether his role is that of starting QB or sideline cheerleader. And the outcome, if negative, will not be open to debate.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

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