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Football player's concussion hits close to home for students, parents

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OLIVE BRANCH, MS -

(WMC-TV) – A football player cannot remember anyone but his own mother after being injured during a game Friday.

The injury is eye opening for Alfred Dickens' teammates and friends at Olive Branch High School. They are now realizing the danger that lies within the sport they love.

Senior Antonio Dotson said he could not believe it when he saw his best friend, Dickens, go down on the field Friday night.

"It shocked me 'cause he went down," Dotson said.

At first Dotson said Dickens seemed OK.

"Then he couldn't remember nothing, couldn't breathe, had bruised ribs, and I know his shoulder was already hurt and he's gotta have surgery after the season," Dotson said.

Dickens' mother said she is not ready to talk about the ordeal because of the concussion injury.

Jabriel Slater, a senior, said the news hit him hard. He and Dickens have been friends since playing little league football.

"It does bother me because It makes me think about how hard the game can be and how heartbreaking it can be and what can happen to you physically and emotionally," Slater said.

Doctors treat roughly 36,000 football-related head injuries or concussions each year.

"Concussion affects everything going on with the mind, focus, concentration, memory, and as we see with the balance, the motor-processes," said Tom Wahl, Hawaii Concussion Management Program.

Dickens' injury serves as an unfortunate reminder of those risks.

"I hope he gets better and I hope he can play football again," added Slater.

"I know he's an Ole Miss commit," agreed Dotson. "He's real good so he's the heart of the defense."

Alfred Dickens' mother said he is out of the hospital. A neurosurgeon said it make take a week or longer for Dickens to regain his full memory.

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