In 2010 Briana suffered a concussion that not only cut short her incredible soccer career, but hijacked her mind and body. When at the top of her game, Briana could easily tune out 90,000 fans screaming from the stands, and watch the ball with razor sharp focus. But after her concussion, the most mundane tasks became impossible challenges. Her frustration coupled with depression and anxiety pushed Briana to the very brink. It was only through her inner tenacity and unyielding willpower that she was able to claw her way down the road to recovery. Today, several years after her concussion, Briana is fully recovered. She shares her ordeal in order to educate players, coaches, and parents about concussions and uses her position to advocates for better protections for players.
Concussions are a growing problem in soccer, from the youth level to professional. Soccer has the second highest rate of reported concussions, following football. This is especially troubling for female players as research suggests they are not only more susceptible to concussion than male players, but also take longer to recover. About one in every two female soccer players will sustain a concussion in her career. As concussion awareness grows, and more parents and coaches know what to look for, the number of concussions being diagnosed is skyrocketing. Briana hopes that by sharing her story and advocating for increased awareness, this dangerous trend can be reversed.
"I've only been able to bring myself to look at it like three times," Scurry said of the collision that did her in, causing a concussion and nerve damage that finished her career and short-circuited several years of her life. The sharp focus and her ability to overcome mental obstacles, the traits she believes had driven her to the top, "It went right down an elevator shaft," Scurry said.
“There were long months when Scurry didn’t believe that her old self would ever return, when she feared that her symptoms would never end. An injury to the brain is not like an injury to the knee, with clear causes and effects and formulas for treatment. Because the brain is so complex and so little understood, each patient’s case is different.”
“Most serious concussions don't occur when players head the ball but instead when they take a blow to the head, often from an elbow, a head, a knee or a goalpost. "Injuries are going to happen," says Scurry, "but you can always have awareness and recovery—if everyone knows what to look for, you get the right treatment, the sooner the better." Scurry testified about concussions in front of Congress in March 2014, and has made a point of talking publicly about her experiences.”
“It is one of the myths of the mainstream sports media that concussions belong only to men, most of them football players. In fact, studies show that women and girls are more likely than men and boys to suffer concussions in sports they both play, such as soccer, basketball and baseball/softball. And in those cases, they also are more likely to suffer in private, a far cry from the attention NFL players command. This was Scurry's fate, a story she has not told until now”