On a crisp September day, Zoe Aldrich walked onto a rugby pitch on a college campus in upstate New York. With her teammates surrounding her, she got ready for the kickoff and the pitch became a blur of colored jerseys. A teammate passed Aldrich the ball and she started running, but an opposing player tackled her to the ground. Players collided above her, competing for the ball. As Aldrich tried to crawl out from under them, one of her teammates accidentally kicked her in the head. “I never lost consciousness,” she says, “but I didn’t feel well.”
Trainers diagnosed her with a concussion, and for the next year and a half, Aldrich suffered from a feeling of fogginess, like her brain wasn’t working correctly.