I remember the feeling of my head compressing into my spine and the sound of the foam in my plastic scrunching and cracking. I lay dazed on my bike as I heard teammates above rushing down to me, a couple of them had gone down as well but luckily just had some road rash. They helped me climb back, and another grabbed my bike from further down. I sat on the side of the road trying to gather myself and figure out if anything was wrong. My body felt fine, nothing broken or bruised, not even a scratch. My helmet was cracked and destroyed but as far as visible damage that was about it. I had never had a concussion before, and at the time I didn't think I had one either. Just to be safe I road straight back to the house I was staying at and hopped in the shower. By this time things were starting to feel a little bit strange. But not like your typical concussion symptoms, I was looking for dizziness, nausea, ringing ears and no balance, instead, I just felt off, sort of spaced out and not like myself. I wasn't sure if I was concussed or just maybe a little shocked from the whole incident. But after talking with my coach we decided it would be best to go to a local sports med clinic and have them check me out.
The next day I remember waking up to barely being able to move my neck, and the feeling of a 45lbs weight sitting on my head pushing it into my neck. But still no headache, nausea, or dizziness. Just that feeling of being off. At the clinic, I showed the doctors my helmet and told them what happened, before any testing they said that they were sure that I did indeed have some sort of concussion just based off of the story. They had me do a baseline test on the computer, I didn't have a baseline from before to compare to, but I scored in the 95% out of all of the athletes that had done baseline testing. My balance was perfectly fine as well as all the cognitive tests. All of the tests I passed with flying colors except for one, which was looking at stationary point and turning my head horizontally as fast as I could. This one I remember increased my feeling of being off and weird. We decided that the best thing to do was to take the standard 2 weeks easy. I didn't have to be in a dark room locked away, but shouldn't train and try to limit myself from screens etc.
The next week I spent watching my teammates train, the second week was US Nationals and the Anual Springer Tournee in Park City UT. It's the biggest competition we have in North America and hundreds of athletes show up to compete. It was tough for me to watch everyone compete especially when I really wasn't feeling that bad. I ended up spending the competition weekend taking photos and cheering them all on. Though I could do all of these things I still had that feeling of being off, and not quite like my usual self. yet still no generic concussion symptoms.
After the Springer Tournee, we returned back to Steamboat Springs for a couple days before leaving to Europe for the next month. I visited the clinic once again, we ran through all the tests and again I passed with flying colors, even the one test I had problems with the first time was a lot easier the second time through. Though I still didn't feel quite like my self and 100% "normal" the doctors assured me that that would probably go away with a little time, but I was free to start training again! The following day we left to Europe with my plan to start training, little did I know that my Europe trip and next 18 months would change my life forever.