Cathy Todd draws a single sheet of paper from her purse and slides it across the table, pointing to a diagram. It’s a detailed picture of the human brain, courtesy of WebMD, along with a bullet-point list describing the brain’s parts.

“You see this?,” she asks, tapping her finger on one of the organ’s dark grooves. It’s the temple, the side of the head between the forehead and ear. “That’s where she got hit.”

kids football

Todd is referring to her daughter — a 16-year-old Punahou cheerleader who during an October 2011 practice session hit her head on a teammate’s shoulder while trying to do a tumble.

She saw a few stars but didn’t think much of it. So she braced herself to do the stunt again — less than 15 minutes later.

The same thing happened: her temple collided with a teammate’s shoulder.

More stars ensued, triggering symptoms that Todd says still affect her daughter a year and a half later. She still struggles with bouts of headaches, confusion, indecisiveness and emotional instability, Todd said.

Todd’s daughter is one of the hundreds — some say thousands — of Hawaii high school athletes who suffered concussions during the 2011 school year.



Photo Credit: aa7ae on Flickr