Knocked­down, but not out


Fif­teen-year-old ath­lete Zion Trig­ger Faitele didn’t know he had a con­cus­sion un­til he got up to pray at school and col­lapsed.

The Ti­tahi Bay Am­a­teur Ath­let­ics Club ath­lete took a knee to the head dur­ing a bas­ket­ball train­ing ses­sion in Novem­ber and has been un­able to get back to the sport he loves.

But in the mean­time he is gain­ing top hon­ours in his other pas­sion - ath­let­ics.

At the North Is­land Col­gate Games last week­end, Faitele achieved a 15m throw in shot put and won the Nick Wil­lis Schol­ar­ship.

Awarded for the first time in 2013, the schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ents are those who have proven to be out­stand­ing.

They re­ceive a con­tri­bu­tion to­wards sports gear, coach­ing, travel or other re­sources to help them to­wards their ath­let­ics goals.

How­ever, the Scots Col­lege stu­dent counts him­self lucky to have com­peted at all.

In Novem­ber he thought he was fine on the night he got the knock to the head.

‘‘It re­ally hurt but I didn’t get knocked out,’’ Faitele said. In­stead he ‘‘just walked home with a sore head’’.

But things did not im­prove and af­ter he col­lapsed at school the next day he went to the doc­tor and was even­tu­ally re­ferred to the ABI Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Con­cus­sion Clinic in Welling­ton.

Re­hab was ‘‘not fun’’, Faitele said.

‘‘You have to watch a bunch of train­ings and rest a lot’’.

Faitele’s re­hab in­cluded eye- ex­er­cises, non-car­dio work outs, and rest be­tween ath­let­ics com­pe­ti­tion days.

While cleared to com­pete in ath­let­ics, he will not be able to re­turn to bas­ket­ball un­til Fe­bru­ary, at the ear­li­est, be­cause it is a con­tact sport.

Mum Michelle Siou said the ex­pe­ri­ence made her aware of the dif­fi­culty recog­nis­ing a con­cus­sion.

Even af­ter he sat his ex­ams at school she found out he was ’’only see­ing about one word on the page’’ and con­tin­ued to get headaches, she said.

‘‘We just thought af­ter a cou­ple of weeks of it, he’ll be back into it.

‘‘This year ob­vi­ously he was just happy he could com­pete.

‘‘It has been a long road to re­cov­ery.’’

His throw­ing coach Shaka Sola said Faitele com­bined nat­u­ral tal­ent with the right at­ti­tude and was on the path to be­com­ing one of New Zealand’s top throw­ers.

‘‘I have seen him grow re­ally fast, he is a quick thinker, he enjoys be­ing fit and enjoys train­ing,’’ he said.

Although it could be frus­trat­ing for any ath­lete to have to take in­jury time out, Faitele had demon­strated good men­tal strength to push through, Sola said.

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