ZACH Smith has no recollection of the incident that left him unconscious on the grass of the Natimuk Showgrounds last year.
He was taken off the field, into the changerooms, and called his mother three times to tell her what had happened.
Smith, however, can only remember the last call.
"We had the same conversation three times, telling her I had been knocked out," Smith said.
"I don't have any recollection of the first two conversations. That is pretty scary to think about.
"Looking back on it, I don't feel like I had much control over what happened in that period, or what I was doing.
"It is pretty confronting to think about."
Smith, now 20, was taken to hospital after the Horsham District football league match, and told simply to rest.
However, Smith began dealing with troublesome side-effects that persisted for the next month.
"I was working at the time, having a gap year after year 12, and I could hardly work for the next month," he said.
"I couldn't concentrate, had headaches, and was getting exhausted really easily.
"There was a point there where I was getting a bit worried, that that would just be how it was for the next chunk of my life.
"Would I just have to put up with having headaches and being exhausted for the rest of my life? I just didn't feel like I was getting any better."
The effects of concussion can last from mere minutes to a lifetime, depending on the person and the severity of the incident.
Equally concerning, AFL icon Danny Frawley recently became the second AFL player to be posthumously diagnosed with CTE, a neurodegenerative disease linked to repeated brain trauma.
Fortunately for Smith, his negative symptoms subsided, and he made a return to the football field two months later.
The youngster however said diagnoses like Frawley's were worrying.
"It's a bit scary, to be honest," he said.
"To think that not even necessarily being concussed, but just having repeated knocks can really effect you later in life. Seeing that is pretty confronting.
"I ended up going to see a specialist down in Melbourne who was really helpful. He would call regularly just to talk about my symptoms and track my progress. Eventually he gave me the all clear.
"But it was hard because there's not much you can really do about it. You just have to let it sort itself out."
While Smith was determined to return to the football field - albeit against his mother's wishes - he said the ordeal had taught him to be more cautious.
"I think the sport has come a long way in looking out for those sort of injuries now, and taking it seriously, which is really good," he said.
"I had copped a knock playing football the week before (the major incident) - it was late in the game so I was pretty exhausted and I wasn't really sure if I was concussed.
"I really should have taken the next week off, just until I was 100 per cent right to go again. That's something I definitely do differently."
Smith said while concussion in football was a difficult thing to avoid, teaching junior players to take care of themselves on the field could be an important part of the process.
"Just trying to play a bit smarter, think about where I'm putting my head going into a contest and that sort of thing, just to try and reduce the risk of having that injury again," he said.
"It's about being smart about it too; if I even get a light head knock, just take it easy, sit out the game and maybe sit out the next game as well, just until I feel right to go.
"It's about teaching kids to be smart playing footy."
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