Source: columbian.com | Re-Post Duerson Fund 5/10/2017 –
During her son’s first year of soccer, Nicci Wollam remembers her 3-year-old running around the field, arms extended, pretending to be an airplane.
Fifteen years later, Blake Wollam is no less joyous when he steps on the field for the Columbia River High School soccer team.
After 3 1/2 years away from the game, Blake is back.
He’s back despite having his soccer career and life in general derailed by debilitating headaches that followed multiple concussions.
He’s back, his family believes, thanks in part to an unconventional surgery they sought out after standard treatment did not lead to improvement.
But mostly Blake is back to reclaim a life that seemed like a dream during weeks when he could barely get out of bed.
“Being able to come back out here and play again is taking back something that was taken away,” he said.
‘I just thought I was sick’
Soccer was life for a pre-teen Wollam. He practiced every day. He did private training. He played with other promising young players on the Vancouver-based Washington Timbers.
During one practice in his eighth-grade year, Wollam leapt to knock a pass into the goal, thrusting his head into the ball with his neck. He remembers feeling dizzy afterward.
In the following days, he remembers feeling not quite right. But, as young athletes sometimes do, he quietly tried to tough it out.
“I kept up my normal routine,” Wollam said. “I just thought I was sick.”