Darkness and light

Darkness and light

Geordie Carragher
Olds College Sports Information
January 24, 2019

OLDS, Alta. - Imagine being unable to leave your room, look at a light, or having to attend class wearing sunglasses.

This was Haiden Hurtig's reality in the immediate aftermath of a concussion.

"I never thought, if I ever got a concussion, that it would ever get to the point where it hurts to keep my eyes open, hurts to keep my eyes closed," he said. "Everything was hard at that point, but I kept thinking about why.

"It sucked a lot to not being able to do anything because of a head injury."

Early in the fourth set of the Broncos' Nov. 3 match with the Ambrose University Lions, the second-year outside hitter from Morinville dove to try and save a point for Olds College. As he slid, his body hit the court hard, knocking the wind out of him.

He tried to shake it off, only to take a Lions kill square to the face a few points later.

Hurtig came out of the match during the next timeout, then missed the next three weeks with a concussion before returning on Nov. 23 in Lethbridge.

The week immediately following the concussion was filled with uncertainty.

"You never actually know when a concussion is fully gone," he said. "You just think it's gone, and then you could get hit again and it's back just as bad, or even worse."

With assistance from Olds College's Student Support Services department, along with the Broncos athletic department, Hurtig was able to get accommodations for his studies.

He was also quick to credit his teammates for constantly checking in on him while he recovered.

"I couldn't drive, so I would get rides to concussion appointments, the grocery store," he said. "I'd get texts from guys right after games saying 'Hey, we could have really used you out there,' or 'Can't wait until you're back. We're gonna go at it.'

Broncos head coach Ryan Marsden praised the institution's handling of the concussion.

"Haiden did a good job communicating with all of us about his symptoms, and we made sure to not rush him back to playing too soon," he said. "His teachers were very patient and understanding as he came back, and he was eased back into his studies in the classroom.

"Accommodation was given where needed, but it all came because Haiden asked for help."

Hurtig credits Make Some Noise for Mental Health for encouraging him to seek assistance.

"If this wasn't as big, I don't think I would have gotten as much help as I needed at the time," he said. "Everybody needs help, even with smaller issues … You might think you can do it on your own, or you might even be able to do it on your own, but having that boost with people behind you at all times really helps."

With the Lions again in town for the Broncos' RBC Game Night, Hurtig encourages anyone dealing with any kind of issue to ask for help.

"No matter what, you always have somebody to talk to," he said. "Everybody's willing to listen, but you have to be able to talk for them to hear you."

Photo Credit: Bob Serrano