The Story


Founder, Chandler Bartol's, story that led to the creation of Head First

Green screen. I hit the ground and it all looked like the world was playing on green screen. As I stared up at the sky, I tried to see something other than the inevitable future I was about to face; but the green screen clouds stared back, and the panicked faces of my peers rushed in front of them.

Freshman year of high school, after making the field hockey team, I collided heads with one of my teammates during our second practice which caused a concussion. Before this moment, I had a plan for my high school career; I was going to be a part of as many teams as possible. I would try out for field hockey, basketball, and softball.  After the concussion, I all of a sudden had to reroute my life. The doctor told me that it was in my best interest to discontinue playing contact sports due to the long term effects that I continue to experience today: trouble concentrating, difficulty sleeping, migraines, and terrible short term memory loss. 


My athletic trainer, Stephi Sousa, asked me as soon as the concussion happened if I had a baseline concussion test. I didn't even know what that was, and little did I know that it would be critical to my recovery process. Without it, my recovery was extensive and often frustrating. Nobody knew my normal. We didn't know when I was fully recovered, and we still don't know if I ever made a full recovery. And that is why I created The Head First Foundation; no child should have to question if their brain has made a full recovery or not. 

The Head First Foundation truly originated in the training room of Myers Park High School, where I found my place and passion for athletic training after feeling so lost. It is an honor to be making a change in how brain health is taught, dealt with, and considered in younger athletes. I can't wait to see the impact this foundation will have on the courts and fields in your middle schools.

-Chandler Bartol