Hubble Holley has sustained at least four physician-recorded concussions, and possibly as many as nine in his 17 years as a hard-playing athlete. When he was just seven years old, he blacked out after falling on a concrete floor. At age 14, he collided head-to-head in a lacrosse game and got hit by the stick. There was the face-plant off the wakeboard at Lucky Peak. Then, just this April, the head and body crash with another lacrosse player.
Hubble was loopy for a while after the first lacrosse concussion, his mother Kozi Holley remembers. He followed all doctor’s orders—no school, no activities, little TV, dim lights. “I didn’t do much of anything for weeks,” Hubble says. “I didn’t get to play sports for three months.” He recovered. But the latest impact has been another, more alarming experience, one that has prompted their interest in concussion research at St. Luke’s. Not realizing how hard he had been hit, Hubble played the rest of the game. It wasn’t until he was driving home that he recognized the familiar signs of concussion. His head hurt, his vision was blurry, and the streetlights were blinding. “It was like I was at a laser light show,” he says. Hubble got lost before finding his way to his grandmother’s house.
“He was way out of it this time,” his mom reports. His eyesight and balance were affected. He would get disoriented. He couldn’t remember recent conversations. “It was like nobody was home.”
Hubble was out of school for two weeks; his activities were restricted for six weeks. He continues to follow-up with his doctors at St. Luke’s Concussion Clinic.
Nearly three months later, Hubble still has after-effects from the concussion. It has affected his sleep. He especially feels the depression and mood swings. “I can be in the shower and get mad at nothing, then go down a dark hole,” he says. “It’s like darkness just comes over me.”
Long-term, he and his mom don’t know what to expect, which is why they support St. Luke’s ground-breaking research on the short- and long-term effects of pediatric concussion. The Concussion Clinic will soon launch a Quality of Life study for patients.
Hubble hopes the research will help families and doctors learn more about “what happens when you get hit on the head too many times.” He and his mom also hope the research will help guide prevention and treatment programs to benefit all kids who play sports.