For first time, concussions are topic of disccussion


People standing in meeting room.

Piedra Vista High School senior Ryan Paquin (second from right) shares his experience with concussions during the first-ever Concussion Symposium held at Farmington Civic Center last Friday. Paquin gave up competitive sports after suffering numerous concussions as a junior high school athlete.

Ryan Paquin should have been a two-time wrestling state champion.

The senior at Piedra Vista High School was Heights Middle School’s only two-time basin champion wrestler and had high hopes of becoming an all-star high school athlete.

Standing 4 feet, 6 inches and weighing in at 78 pounds in middle school, he also played football. During practice one day he decided to make a life-changing move.

“I went to tackle the biggest kid on the team and I got a major concussion. I blacked out for a few seconds, I got up, they asked if I was fine, and I just kept going,” Paquin said.
“I went undefeated both my 7th and 8th grade season (in wrestling),” he said. “Giving that up was hard for me, especially because I was foretold to win state my sophomore year and win every year after that. After I stopped, it was hard.”

Paquin stopped wrestling and hung up his cleats after his sophomore year because the concussions caught up with him. He was diagnosed with chronic migraines, which led to fainting spells that caused him to black out and suffer seizures.

High school officials and medical professionals held the first Concussion Symposium at the Farmington Civic Center last Friday.

The symposium was to educate coaches, trainers and medical providers about sports concussions. Hosted by San Juan Regional Medical Center, the event was free and closed to the public.
The one-day event was filled with panel discussions and breakout sessions as well as a lengthy question-and-answer session.

Karen LeComte, a neurologist with the medical center, said, “This is the beginning of the process here educating all the coaches and hopefully even parents through the coaches to know what concussion is and how to be safe.

“We want youth to participate in sports, we want them to be active, but we also want them to realize some dangers,” she said.

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Categories: Sports

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at or via cell at (505) 686-0769.