Ever had concussion? How sharp is your concept of time? - Liam Rudden
I'm never quite sure whether I forget to remember things or remember to forget them.
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Recent conversations about the dangers of concussion to footballers has got me wondering.
As long as I can recall, my concept of time has been different to most of the people around me. While they can happily reel off the year things happened, a holiday in such-and-such a place perhaps, the year the left school or university, or even the year a loved one died, I have very little ability remember years and place events in a chronological order. My memory just doesn't work that way.
So, while I do remember the big things in life, just don't ask me when they happened, it could have been yesterday or a decade ago.
I've also lost track of the number of times I've said to a pal, "Oh, I saw that when it came to town years ago," and they've replied, "I know, I was with you." For some reason, I just don't retain that detail.
As an interviewer, that can be awkward. Having interviewed many personalities over the years, it wouldn't be the first time that while interviewing someone for the first time, I’ve suddenly realised it's actually the second. I now dread hearing, "Oh, we chatted about this last time."
Not that my idiosyncratic memory worries me. It has always been as it is so I know no different, although the concussion debate has started me thinking.
Around 10-years-old, I suffered a severe concussion. It was back in the days when school gym halls doubled as dinner halls, folded tables stacked around the walls outside lunchtimes.
There was warm up we did at gym. Split into two teams, everyone sat in a circle and was given a number, when your number was called, the two with that number raced around the circle back to their place. When it was my turn, I tripped over the leg of a table… The next thing I knew it was three hours later and I was back at my desk with a worried teacher staring into my face, saying my name over and over again.
Immediately, my folks were called and I was dispatched to Leith Hospital's A&E (it was that long ago), After hours of observation I was allowed home on condition my mother didn’t let me sleep for 12 hours.
To this day I still have that blank three hours. I'm told I finished the PE class as if nothing had happened. Got changed - my random memory has just recalled that the boys’ changing room was where the trading of cinnamon sticks took place (smoking them was a thing) - and returned to my desk. It was my glazed stare that alerted the teacher all was not right.
I wonder now if that knock did more damage that was realised. I'll probably never know.
On the bright side, if I leave it a year or two, I can re-read books and re-watch films and not have a clue what's going to happen next.