Being knocked out in a football game is not a painful event at impact. It is a dimensional vacuum through an extremely narrow wormhole. It is a piano falling on your head in the middle of your recital. It’s a system reboot. My adrenaline was always too high to feel the pain of a hit, anyway. When I came to, I didn’t know where I was. You’re lying on the grass, Nate. The crowd is roaring. But what are they roaring about? Oh, yes, it’s for you. You got knocked out. Yay! His brain is bleeding!
Even in my cranial reboot phase, I knew that at that moment, they’d be replaying the hit in slow motion. I also knew that my mother was watching back in California. And I knew that Greek was holding my head and neck. So I started moving around my legs and arms to let my family know I wasn’t paralyzed.
And hard booze found its way into the lemonade in my Dixie cup. I approached our team doctor as the flight closed in on Denver and asked him if he could give me something for the pain. He said the best he could do was one Vicodin and one muscle relaxer. “Really, Doc? That’s it? You’re gonna make me hit the streets for this one?”