But it’s that tough concussion recovery process that might one day allow Thomas to fulfill his dreams of playing on that stage.
“I think the thing we probably learned most was that there is a way to measure the progress and that’s through impact testing,” said Stephanie. “There is a way to measure their progress, so I think that’s a key. The other thing we learned is following the guidelines. There are protocols in place like adjusting their time in school. He went only a half a day initially, could only take one test a day.
“The impact testing is a computerized test where all high school players are impact tested as a baseline at the beginning of the year. It tests reaction time, memory, and concentration so with Thomas he didn’t have a baseline test at this age, but he had his first impact test within a week after he had the concussion.”
Stephanie also said there were other sacrifices Thomas made to get healthier, such as he was not allowed to watch television, play video games, or use texting on a cell phone for weeks, assimilating the injury to the brain like one to an ankle or knee where you walk on it before you’re ready.
“When you’re asking the brain to process, you’re not giving it time to heal, you’re asking it to work,” she said. “This kid studies football, he watches all of it, so he couldn’t watch anything.”
It was that dedication that helped him heal rather quickly. Stephanie said Thomas would tape football games to watch later on DVR and go through the commercials so he wouldn’t be watching too much television when he was allowed to again, but still not miss out on analyzing games.