In this episode of Brain Injury Today, Brain Injury Alliance of Washington Executive Director Deborah Crawley speaks with former UW football player and BIAWA board member Darin Harris about his journey following a severe brain injury that nearly killed him. Darin gets candid about his struggle with symptoms like depression, how he has maintained a positive connection to football, and the difficulties of coping with both a brain injury and systemic racism as a member of the Black community.
Although, “It’s been difficult,” he said. “Being an athlete and being a person who says something and does it, finding out that you’re not invincible hurts the most. You’re doing stuff and you’re at your pinnacle in terms of what you can do physically, and you feel sharp mentally…and then that stuff changes like that.” Harris has rebuilt his life.
Harris has also helped raise awareness outside the state to help pass what is commonly referred to as the Zackery Lystedt Law, named after the Tahoma High School player, that suffered a traumatic brain injury playing football two years before Harris’s injury. Like Harris, Lystedt has now devoted his time to support brain injury awareness, advocating legislation to make sure any player suspected of suffering a concussion is checked out by a licensed practitioner before receiving medical clearance to continue playing. It’s now the law in all fifty states.
Working full-time at PSE, Harris devotes a lot of his spare time as a board member of the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington (biawa.org) and has just served as Past President of the Alliance. Coaches football, mentors’ young men and is a father of a beautiful daughter.
Brain Injury Resources:
Brain Injury Alliance of Washington – biawa.org
United State Brain Injury Alliance – www.usbia.org
Brainline – www.brainline.org
Links to Darin Harris
Linkedin: Darin Harris
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: Student Athletes Healthcare Web Clip (HBO Sports) - YouTube
What is Brain Injury Today?
Brain Injury Today is the official podcast of the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington. Join Executive Director Deborah Crawley for insightful and inspiring conversations from members of the brain injury community.