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Christianson Reflects on Concussions as Blessing, not Burden

Christianson leads the team out from the locker room before a game in August 2019 in Forest City, Iowa at Bolstorff Field, Photo by Kristine Kingland

By Zach Throne

Drew Christianson’s football career ended in the middle of the 2018 season when doctors forced him to medically retire due to frequent concussions.

He experienced several concussions during his high school playing days. He continued to play through some without telling anyone, and others were evident enough that he exited the game.

He suffered a couple more concussions in college. During his sophomore campaign, he suffered his last concussion against Presentation College.

This forced him to go to a specialist, who eventually told Christianson to stop playing.

The news of never being able to play the only sport he has truly loved hurt him. He cried for hours following the verdict.

Days later, Christianson met with then-head coach Josh Littrell, and Littrell assured him that he would never take a scholarship because of an injury. He proceeded to offer Christianson the closest thing to playing: coaching.

This allowed him an opportunity to still be a part of the team, and he would be able to be around his best friends.

Christianson accepted and has since been the assistant defensive backs coach. He plans to retain that position until he graduates in May of 2021.

One of his best friends, MaCoy Yeakel, is a defensive back at Waldorf and receives coaching directly from Christianson.

“‘Coach Drew’ has been awesome to have stay around the team,” said Yeakel. “He loves us, and we love him. I do not know what he’d do without football in his life.”

The Belmond-Klemme alum does not regret anything in his football career.

“I prided myself on playing 100 miles-per-hour at all times. This led to some probably unsafe hits for me to take,” said Christianson. “And if I could do it all over again, I would not change a thing.”

One of Christianson’s dreams is to be a football coach, and he now lives that dream at Waldorf University. It has also allowed Christianson to focus on his other passion in life, fitness.

“I have always loved lifting, working out and all that comes with being in great physical shape,” said Christianson. “This is why I am in the exercise science department. I love learning how to improve the well-being of the human body.”

He plans to go to Las Vegas this summer, if social distancing rules and policies subside, to study water therapy. It uses water to manipulate the body and help heal itself.

He wants to use that information to help athletes heal and strengthen their bodies. The junior hopes to make a career out of it, while coaching and working out in his free time.