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Headstrong Gorab

Sea Kings junior, who has dealt with concussions, has excelled on and off the pitch.

March 03, 2011|David Carrillo PeƱaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com
(Scott Smeltzer…)

Jack Gorab uses his head on and off the soccer field at Corona del Mar High.

George Larsen calls Gorab one of the smartest players he has coached. Larsen said the junior has scored a 33 on the ACT and 2080 on the SAT.

What scares Gorab is being unable to use his head in the sport he loves.

While teammates tried to hold their heads up after the Sea Kings lost at Paramount, 2-1, in a CIF Southern Section Division III semifinal on Tuesday, Gorab has his own head issues.

A day after walking off the field for the final time this season, Gorab said he still deals with the side effects from suffering a second concussion. A month has passed since it happened and the defender gets headaches and nauseous.

Gorab said he does not remember much after he suffered the concussion. Teammates and coaches told Gorab what happened during that match on Feb. 2.

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While leaping for a ball, Gorab collided with Brian Ford, a teammate. The side of Gorab's head hit Ford's forehead.

"My head hurt right away, then the pain went away and I didn't feel anything," said Gorab, adding that he stayed in the match and played the final 10 minutes.

When CdM lost to Woodbridge, 2-1, in the crucial Pacific Coast League match, Gorab asked strange questions on the car ride home with teammates.

He asked them more than once. The questions made it seem like Gorab was not involved in the match.

"Did we win?" Gorab said he asked. "What was the score?"

The teammates knew Gorab had suffered a concussion before and one player called his parents.

Gorab's parents are both doctors and they were concerned.

"They wanted to make sure I wasn't coming back [to soccer] too early and made sure I was healed," Gorab said of his father, Robert, an orthopedic surgeon, and mother, Lisa, a pediatrician. "Every sport is now dealing with this whole concussion thing seriously."

Gorab sat out for 2½ weeks, missing the final two league matches, costing CdM a chance at defending its league title. He returned in time for the playoffs looking like a different player.

On his head, Gorab wore an oversized black headband. Gorab said the padded headband made by Full90 protects his head and reduces the chances of getting a future concussion.

Getting used to the headgear was not easy.

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