Court appeal

Tennis just the right sport for concussion-conscious Hayward

Eleven-year-old Trigg Hayward returns a shot Friday during his victory in the 12-and-under bracket at the Community Hospital Junior Tournament.

Trigg Hayward tosses the tennis ball up in the air and takes a big, strong swing.

Sometimes he hits it perfectly in the service box. Other times his timing is off, but he’s just happy to be out playing sports again.

“Tennis is not as dangerous,” Hayward said. “It’s perfect.”

The 11-year-old won his first-round match Friday in the Community Hospital Junior Tournament at the Elliott Tennis Center at Colorado Mesa University. Hayward rallied to defeat Donovan Marshall 0-6, 7-5, (10-7) in the boys 12-under singles draw.

He’s played several sports growing up, but now he’s no longer playing contact sports.

That’s because he already has been diagnosed with two concussions and possibly had a couple that went undiagnosed.

Hayward suffered his first diagnosed concussion nearly three years ago in a boating accident at Lake Powell. When choppy water popped him and another person up in the air, the two bonked heads, and Hayward was knocked out, left floating in the water. He was bleeding out of his ear.

“I remember having blurring vision,” Hayward said. “I would open my eyes, then fall asleep. Everyone jumped out of the boat trying to save me.”

He was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital. He had a hairline fracture with a concussion.

Hayward healed and returned to playing numerous sports.

He’s had collisions, but nothing apparently too serious, not enough to cause any significant, noticeable effects until this spring.

Hayward was knocked out in a lacrosse tournament.

He had the ball and was about to attempt to score a goal when a defender hit him in the head with his stick while trying to knock the ball loose. The defender then elbowed him in the head, Hayward said.

On their way to the hospital, his father, Tor Hayward, called a friend who is a neurologist and described the injury.

“We’re in the car, and he tells me, he’s probably done for the season,” Tor said. “We were shocked.”

Trigg recalls having a bad headache from the collision, and he had to take the ImPACT Concussion test.

“I didn’t do well on it,” Trigg said.

He was required to stay home, avoid bright lights and wasn’t allowed to watch TV or play video games. He was instructed not to read more than 30 minutes a day, a difficult task for an 11-year-old.

Trigg had to take the test again before he was cleared for more physical and mental activity. It took more than a week before he could.

The second diagnosis led him and his parents to discuss sports and his future in them.

“Once you have a severe concussion, you are so susceptible to getting another one,” Stacey Hayward said. “After the second one, he took the ImPACT test. He gets great grades, and (the test) wasn’t reflecting that. That was a big eye-opener for Tor and I. We had a lot of talks about it.”

They agreed Trigg would quit playing contact sports. He plans to play basketball and baseball along with tennis.

“It’s a blessing he’s young enough he can embrace other sports,” Stacey said. “Once we talked about the risks, we realized it was not worth (continuing to play contact sports). He loves so many sports. It was tough because he was starting to enjoy lacrosse.

“We want him to have a long, healthy life.”


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