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Continued: Patrick Reusse: Koskie confronts injury, ignorance

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 30, 2007 - 9:25 PM

Nausea, fatigue, a feeling of pressure in his head and a disconnect from what was happening around him. "When I'm having a bad day, it's like everyone is behind a window," he said.

A month after the injury, Koskie visited Dr. Michael Collins, a neuropsychologist in Pittsburgh. Collins has been deeply involved with the ImPACT program, a test that can provide solid information on the damage done to the brain by concussions and the recovery process from post-concussion syndrome.

"Once I saw Dr. Collins, I started to understand what I was going through," Koskie said. "He told me then, is still telling me, 'What you're feeling is real, Corey.' "

Koskie has recommended contacting Collins to the many people who have reached him with stories of their postconcussion cases. He arranged for the mother and teenage daughter from Wisconsin to talk with Collins and to take the test.

Collins and his partners have given the computerized test to enough people to develop baselines for age groups. Koskie's first test for males in their 30s had these disturbing results:

He was in the second percentile for intelligence, third percentile for cognitive ability, 14th percentile for reaction time.

"I said to Dr. Collins, 'Maybe I'm just that stupid ... that 98 percent of the people taking the test are smarter than me,' " Koskie said. "He said, 'Corey, you're a high school graduate. Believe me, you're not in the bottom 2 percent. And you're a pro athlete. Eighty-six percent of the people taking the test aren't supposed to have better reactions than someone who has played third base for eight years in the big leagues.' "

Collins and Koskie know his brain is healing, because he's in the 60-70 percentiles for intelligence and cognitive ability now, and in the high 80s in reaction.

"I've talked to [San Francisco Giants catcher] Mike Matheny quite a few times," Koskie said. "He couldn't come back from his latest concussion last year and decided to retire. The reason is that his ImPACT test scores haven't been getting any better."

The Koskies (Corey and Shannon) have three sons from 18 months to 6 years old. He hasn't been able to do the usual rolling around the floor with his sons since last July. He even had to leave a couple of oldest son Bradley's hockey games this winter because the bright lights of the arena would trigger some of his symptoms.

"There are good days and bad days," Koskie said. "When people see you and say, 'You look great,' they don't realize they are seeing you on a good day. They don't know that you might spend most of the next three, four days, lying down, holding your head, wondering when you're going to feel normal again.

"I'm going to play again, though. I'm sure of that. If I wasn't, I would have a lot more depression to deal with."

Patrick Reusse can be heard weekdays on AM-1500 KSTP at 6:45 and 7:45 a.m. and 4:40 p.m. • preusse@startribune.com

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