The sport of soccer has given our family so much over the years. When I actually look back at the 35 years I have been married soccer has always been part of our daily lives.
From my college education, to my career as a professional player, to my current career directing Twellman Soccer, this sport has always been part of my life.
The same is true for my three kids. From their education to their careers to their love of the game soccer has always
and continues to be part of their lives.
The love of the sport has and will always be present but now our focus has changed.
Our oldest son, Taylor Twellman, former five-time Major League Soccer all-star, was forced to retire from professional soccer in 2010, due to complications from multiple concussions, a type of Traumatic Brain Injury ("TBI"). While suffering five documented concussions throughout his professional playing career, on August 31, 2008, Taylor suffered a concussion that many believe ended his storied career in Major League Soccer (Taylor played in eight more games, scoring five goals for his team, following this injury).
As Taylor later realized, this brain injury was far more than a career-ending injury, rather, it was a life-changing event.
For over four years, Taylor has suffered daily from the effects, symptoms and pain of post- concussion syndrome ("PCS"); his symptoms have ranged anywhere from daily migraines, nausea and irritability to blurred vision and sensitivity to light etc. While his recovery has improved and progressed, he has yet to fully recover, a common story for many. Taylor’s injury and suffering has profoundly affected our family as you can imagine. We are a very close family and we are a sports family, with a long history of professional athletes. We are experienced in the treatment and recovery of sports-related injuries; and yet, we struggled to understand Taylor’s concussion. This injury was invisible to all of us and there was no easy, tangible "fix" for his concussion; furthermore, we did not comprehend the complex emotional toll it had on Taylor. For the past four years, Taylor and the rest of us have experienced a wide array of emotions, from impatience and frustration to fear and anxiety.
Eventually, as a family, we painfully recognized the seriousness of this brain injury and found the need to educate other athletes and their families. We realized that families needed to handle this injury with a greater sense of care and compassion than any other injury.
Inspired to make a difference in the world of concussions, Taylor, with the support of the entire family, founded the ThinkTaylor Foundation (www.ThinkTaylor.org) in 2011, a foundation driven and dedicated to changing the culture in the world of concussions. Yes, the entire family, are all in and are driven to make a difference. Through our website, one of the many aspects of ThinkTaylor Foundation that we offer to our concussion movement, is the opportunity to share their personal story. We want these concussed individuals to understand that we hear them and we C.A.R.E. We need to listen and hear their stories. This is an invisible injury that needs to be listened to. The response to sharing their stories has been overwhelming. Most of these stories are extremely informative and so familiar to Taylor’s journey.
Yes, Taylor suffers from the pain and life-altering effects of PCS; however, Taylor’s story is an inspirational story. He "lives" this injury every day, and while some days are worse than others, he and all of us believe that he will one day recover. Taylor also believes in the power of education and encouragement; in fact, he wants his foundation to "take the burden off" of everyone involved and to make a positive impact in the lives of those affected. ThinkTaylor believes in helping kids, not scaring kids. As Taylor stated in a recent ThinkTaylor appearance, "I [need] to help myself by helping others... I want to be a voice for the injury."
ThinkTaylor’s positive message, emphasizing C.A.R.E. (CONCUSSION AWARENESS RECOGNITION and EDUCATION [and] putting the
health of kids first will create a positive social change and in return, a safer, healthier and smarter environment for our youth.
Please support www.thinktaylor.org and this concussion movement.