Bret Hart talks about living with a severe concussion in his biography Hitman.
Again, he told me it was all part of the concussion: my brain was like the squares on a soccer ball and the square that triggers pleasure had been bruised.
Bret Hart told his bosses at WCW that he had a concussion but he still had to go out and perform. Other wrestlers didn’t believe him. Hitman was published a decade ago. This was before mainstream discussion about concussions and CTE.
Through the NFL, we’ve learned just how severe an injury a concussion is. Mostly because, if I’m to believe everything from that Will Smith movie (“Tell the truth!”), the NFL didn’t want the long term effects of minor concussions to get out in public. Former players are getting CTE and have really poor quality of life because of their mental issues.
Growing up I would hear about so and so getting a concussion. My mom had migraines, so I just suspected a concussion was some kind of super migraine. It seems silly now, but it was a time when players would regularly get concussed and then go back out a few plays later.
If you sat a game out because a concussion, you’d be ridiculed as soft by fans.
I didn’t really know what a concussion was until hearing Dave Dameshek talk about it back when he had an ESPN show. He said people wouldn’t take them as lightly if they were called what they were: brain bruises.
A bruise is a much better mental model for you to use. You’ve had a bruise. You’ve had a charley horse or been punched in the arm by a friend. You’ve probably had much worse in your life. Imagining that the same thing is on your brain, then it’s understandable why you might want to take the game off. And perfectly understandable why you wouldn’t want to go out and take a steel chair to the head.