Commerce City, Colo. - In the final minutes of Colorado’s 2-1 loss at Seattle on July 25, Rapids leading-scorer Conor Casey dove in to head a cross from Drew Moor at the penalty spot. Ever the physical player, Casey clashed with Seattle defender Patrick Ianni and both players went down. By the time Casey hit the Qwest Field turf, the gash of his forehead from the collision was bleeding profusely.
He received six stitches in the locker room after the game and was on the team bus as the group returned to the hotel. That night, he realized that the gash to his scalp was minor compared to the symptoms he started experiencing.
He didn’t train during the last week and on Friday all parties decided they would not risk playing the big forward against Dallas regardless of how he felt on gameday.
"Conor was held out more for the symptoms he has been suffering than the injuries themselves,” Rapids head coach Gary Smith told the press after the 1-1 tie with FC Dallas. “His neck was sore and he has been having some headaches and he just was not ready to take part especially in the heat out there. I don't think it would have done him any good at all.”
We caught up with Casey today to ask about the injury and his status:
Do you remember how the play happened?
“I remember the play, and I thought the defender was a good five yards behind me. I thought I was all alone when I went up for the header. When I hit the ground, obviously, I knew that he wasn’t; he was right there.”
Did the blood scare you?
“Not really, the blood not so much. It was definitely a big knock and I saw blood and definitely felt how hard we clashed heads. So I really just stayed down for a bit. Jaime (Rojas – head athletic trainer) came over. I don’t know how long I was down for, but after a while I was like “alright, I’m bleeding, so I should probably get off the field.”
Where you trying to get back in?
“I remember him putting band aids on, and then they would fall off. And finally I could tell he was getting frustrated, but he kept putting band aids on. And I thought how about we get off the field and we can sew it up.”
How quickly did you start feeling that the cut was not the main injury?
“I felt pretty out of it after the game, definitely had a bad headache and felt pretty woozy. And maybe a few days after that, I still kind of had blurred vision and sort of a lag time in terms of – if I’d look in a certain direction it would take a while for me to focus in. And really just a headache, and I still have a headache now, so it’s been kind of steady headaches since. The symptoms are definitely getting better but I still have just a little bit of blurred vision."
What did the doctor tell you?
“I saw Dr. Gersoff and he said all the symptoms pointed to a first grade concussion. They are supposed to be setting up for a scan for tomorrow (Wednesday), actually, just to be sure of things."
Have you had any previous head injuries?
“Yea, I’ve had clashes with heads before where I felt the effects days after. But I haven’t had anything where it’s been more than a week where I was still feeling symptoms."
Have you talked to others that have had concussions?
“Not really, but I know that there’s obviously been a couple of players that have some serious repercussions from it - Taylor Twellman and Alecko Eskandarian, who’s not even playing any more. So from talking to people it definitely sounds like it’s better to be on the cautious side."
On how such an injury can affect the way he plays his position:
“That’s the thing, for me especially, I probably use my head just as much as I use my feet in terms of battling for balls and also getting in the box and trying to score. So I definitely use my head - so it’s important for me to be 100 percent when I go out there."
What does the cut look now, and do you have a timeline on returning?
“My actual cut has healed up already; you can hardly see it now, just a little scar.
“I’m feeling a lot better, but I’m going to make sure - check all the angles, make sure that I’m definitely clear, that I feel 100 percent. Right now I don’t, so I’m just kind of taking it slow and am waiting for the symptoms to ease up."