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Concussions and contact sports: What these parents learned from their son's death

Posted: 8:04 AM, Dec 4, 2019 Updated: 11:53 PM, Dec 4, 2019

By: USA Today

Author: Nancy Armour

-- HAMBURG, N.Y. — Growing up, Matthew Benedict spent most of the year with a helmet on his head.

There was football in the fall, hockey in the winter and lacrosse in the spring. In the summer, he and his brother and their buddies would head to Toronto for weekend hockey tournaments.

There were too many hard hits to count, and even more bumps and bruises. Yet Benedict's mother, Anne, never feared for the safety of her very active and energetic children.

Until Oct. 26, 2013.

During a game against rival Trinity, Matthew, a junior defensive back for Middlebury College, was kneed in the forehead by the opposing quarterback.

“It was the first time in any of my kids’ lives when I said, 'Get up Matt. Get up Matt,’ " Anne Benedict said.

He did, but a short time later was hit again, this time on the side of the head. Benedict would stay in the game, finishing with 19 tackles, one shy of the school record.

Within weeks, his family noticed a marked change in the 21-year-old's personality. He was uncharacteristically tense. Instead of being at the center of the close-knit family’s holiday get-togethers, he retreated to his room. At Christmas, he told his younger sister, Lizzy, that he’d been “in a funk” for a month, unable to sleep or focus.

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