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UNC’s Tony Bradley describes ‘blacking out’ amid first concussion

UNC freshman forward Tony Bradley said he “blacked out” amid the concussion he suffered during the Tar Heels’ victory at Wake Forest on Jan. 11.
UNC freshman forward Tony Bradley said he “blacked out” amid the concussion he suffered during the Tar Heels’ victory at Wake Forest on Jan. 11. rwillett@newsobserver.com

If he hadn’t seen a replay of the moment on video, Tony Bradley said he “would have never remembered” how he suffered a concussion during North Carolina’s victory at Wake Forest on Jan. 11.

Bradley, the Tar Heels freshman forward, missed UNC’s next two games while he recovered from that concussion. He returned on Saturday and played 11 minutes during his team’s 90-82 victory at Boston College, and after the game he described enduring the concussion and recovering from it.

“That was my first time,” Bradley said when asked if he’d ever had another. “And my first time just blacking out like that, too.”

It was a “weird” experience, he said.

One moment he was playing. The next he was stretched out on the floor, after he fell and after his head collided with the court. Bradley was going for a loose ball when he lost his footing. He first hit his ahead against an opponent’s knee, before his head struck the court.

Doug Halverson, the Tar Heels’ head trainer, rushed to the court to help Bradley. UNC coach Roy Williams stood by Bradley’s side, too. Eventually he made his way to his feet, and slowly walked off of the court. At the time Bradley said he didn’t know what was happening.

“I was bad, not remembering anything,” Bradley said. “I remember that night, asking the trainer what happened walking to the locker room. Like, ‘Why are we walking to the locker room? Is it halftime? … Like what’s going on?’ It was crazy.”

A few days later, Bradley watched the Tar Heels’ victory against Florida State. He was on the bench during UNC’s victory against Syracuse last Monday night. Bradley went through UNC’s normal concussion protocol, which applies for all athletes, regardless of sport, who suffer a concussion.

The process mandates that an athlete remain free of concussion-like symptoms for 48 hours before returning to normal activity. Once an athlete does resume activity, he is monitored for a recurrence of symptoms. Bradley returned to practice last Wednesday and then was cleared to play on Saturday.

In his 11 minutes, Bradley finished with six points and five rebounds. It felt like old times, he said, “like I never missed a game.”

Andrew Carter: 919-829-8944, @_andrewcarter

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