NYA Junior Leads Concussion Awareness Education

Student-athlete and North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) junior, Elizabeth (E Beth) Goodrich, turned her concussion experience into a learning opportunity for NYA. After she suffered a season-ending concussion during an ice hockey game last year, NYA Girls Hockey Coach, Pavel Navrat, connected Goodrich with Kiley Thomas and the Headway Foundation. Thomas, the daughter of former NHL goalie Tim Thomas*, told her about Concussion Awareness Week and the Headway Foundation. The Headway Foundation is a “national organization that aims to promote a safer sports culture, provide resources for patients, and enhance concussion evaluation protocols and accessibility.”

Goodrich registered the NYA Girls Ice Hockey Team with the Headway Foundation, and she didn’t stop there. She and her teammates gave a presentation about concussions and protocols to NYA Upper and Middle School students on January 31, during Concussion Awareness Week. The presentation included this video that she and her teammates made about concussions. She educated the community on the initiatives of #newtough and #shiftconcussionculture and asked students to sign a Headway Foundation banner pledging the New Tough Pact:

  • Report possible concussion symptoms and stay patient during recovery
  • Encourage teammates with possible concussions to seek help and offer support while they heal
  • Play the game within the rules by avoiding illegal hits from behind or to the head or neck

“The months that followed [my concussion] were some of the darkest and most challenging I have ever experienced,” said Goodrich. “I felt like a lot of people didn’t really understand what I was going through, and I didn’t want people to think I was weak, so I forced myself to smile and pushed through each day, despite the pain I was feeling. Though my symptoms seemed to be improving, I still felt an emptiness inside.”

She is not alone in her experiences. The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council concluded that the culture of sports negatively influences concussion reporting and athletes, coaches, and parents do not fully acknowledge the risks of playing while injured. Goodrich aims to #shiftconcussionculture, “I hope that by educating others in our community, people will have a better understanding of an injury that is generally overlooked and misunderstood. My goal is to inspire other athletes to be #newtough and create a safer sports culture that takes concussions seriously.”

E Beth was recently featured on WGME by Sports Director Dave Eid.

North Yarmouth Academy is an independent, college preparatory, coeducational school for toddlers to students in grade twelve. Since 1814, NYA has fostered integrity, character and intellect in its students. For more information, please contact NYA at 207-847-5423 or visit our website at nya.org.

*(Navrat and Tim Thomas were teammates at UVM. Navrat also represented Thomas during most of his NHL career.)