The Murphy family knows the devastating effects of head injuries all too well. F.J.’s sister Kaela was a volleyball, basketball and lacrosse star at Bishop Fenwick who went to St. Joseph’s College in Maine three years ago — but has suffered eight concussions playing sports over the years.
“Kaela was told she couldn’t play any more sports, so she’s gone through the same thing I’m dealing with. The decision was made for her by doctors,” said F.J. Murphy. “At least I had a choice, and coach (J.B.) Wells was a big influence in helping me. My sister has also been there for me and she’s a huge support.”
F.J. met with Endicott president Dr. Richard Wylie to discuss bringing the Impact Test to the college. It is widely used around the country to test for concussions which are sometimes difficult to diagnose properly.
“It’s used to test where your memory is at. Currently we don’t have it at Endicott, so my big project is to see that we get it,” he said.
“I was fortunate to go to St. John’s Prep, where we have resources, and I think it is very important for Endicott student-athletes to also have it available to them. The Sports Legacy Institute at BU provides education for parents, coaches, and athletes to deal with head injuries.
“After getting two in one weekend, I wasn’t able to eat without feeling sick for over a month,” Murphy added. “To this day I still get dizzy at times. Memory retention is also a problem, but things are getting better. Fortunately I was able to go to my classes, and only missed four or five.”
Last semester Murphy earned a 3.65 grade point average, a remarkable feat considering he has no idea how he was able to do in the days following his concussions. He also did extensive physical therapy at Gordon College, which really helped him recover.