Chris Coyne’s Concussions

Chris Coyne’s story is well known in Westport sports circles.

Chris Coyne

A star football player at Staples, his playing career ended as a Yale freshman during pre-season, when he suffered his 6th concussion. (Not all had occurred on the football field.)

Though at first this one seemed mild, Chris’ symptoms — severe memory lapses and an inability to concentrate — soon made him realize that the cumulative effects were dangerous.

Since then, Chris has spoken out strongly on the need for concussion awareness. His latest forum is the popular “Goodyblog” on Parents Magazine’s website.

The story is factual, and hard-hitting. But even more impressive is the link to a 5-minute video.

In it, Chris describes in compelling detail exactly what concussions have done to his life.

But he also talks about how much he loved football — and still does.

The game has taught him respect and responsibility, and given him a strong work ethic, he says.

He’s shown telling Westport PAL players the importance of recognizing — and reporting — concussions.

“I wish I knew then what I know now,” he tells Westport — and the world.

“If I did, I’d still be playing.”

(The Scholastic video was written by Staples grad Lauren Tarshis. And a tip to alert “06880” reader Pippa Bell Ader, the mother of a child with a severe concussion, for sending the Scholastic story along.)

11 responses to “Chris Coyne’s Concussions

  1. wow…this was so well done. In addition to sports teams viewing this video, hope that the Westport Public Schools are showing this anually and discussing in health/PE classes.

  2. Hi Chris,
    This great video and story will help many kids, I am glad that you are OK.

  3. I only had one concussion when I played for Staples. I was hit after the start of the second half, on the ground for a couple of minutes, but walked off the field okay. My parents were relieved to see me on the bench, watching the game, jumping up to cheer at appropriate times, and seemingly fine. However, the next thing I remember after the hit was running up the embankment to the locker room, looking back and seeing the score had changed. I had been out on my feet for more than half an hour.

    Like Chris, I loved playing football. But I’m glad my son played basketball, and I hope my grandsons also find other sports to play.

  4. Estelle Margolis


    I can’t access the video. Send it another way?


  5. Excellent and poignant video. Like Steve Doig, my football captain in ’65, most of us suffered a concussion or two along the way but paid them little heed — a mistake in retrospect but we didn’t know any better back then. My worst concussion occured in the spring of ’64 during a pick-up touch football game at Compo Beach. It was explained to me later that I had been clotheslined while running a pass route, my head then striking an exposed rock. I was brought to Dr. Beinfield’s office and then released to my parents. I have absolutely no memory of that day. Like Steve, I enjoyed playing football although was not nearly as good at it as he was. My daughters played soccer and softball. I had no sons so no football, thankfully.

  6. Go Chris!

  7. Athlete education is so important. Thirty states now have concussion laws mandating public high school coaches and athletic trainers receive concussion training. Some of the newer laws include a mandate for athlete training as well. I think it very important to train the athletes so they can recognize a concussion and understand the importance of sitting out when they are injured. Keep up the good work Chris!

  8. We will be cheering our boys on under the lights tonight, but probably a few will end up with a concussion as a result. So much has changed in the NFL; athlete education, hit only 1 day/week, neurologists watching players and pulling if hit to the head. Who is overseeing that our boys have the safest possible program?

  9. Good changes — but close supervision is imperative. We had live scrimmages and blocking/tackling drills 4 days/week in the 1960s, which, again in restrospect, is even crazier than taking salt tablets during 2-a-daysand not being permitted to swallow water. The era wasn’t entirely clueless, however: we had no opportunity to play organized tackle football until 9th grade (back then the junior highs maintained their own varsity sports programs, but for 9th graders only). Seeing photos of Chris as a very young Pop Warner player tells me that our way, if only in that respect, was wiser.

  10. Excellent Peace!!!!! Well done Dan Woge!

  11. The newly released documentary film about concussions, HEAD GAMES, will be shown at the library on Wednesday, October 10th, 7pm. (There is no charge, and seating is limited to 120 people, so come early). There will be a brief discussion after the film, addressing concussion awareness in Westport….Clearly some 06880 readers have concerns.