For Mikey Bien Aime, basketball has always been the centre of his life. As a young child born from two immigrant parents from Haiti, Aime can recall his earliest memories with a basketball in his hands.
The Bien Aime family moved to Canada in 2007. They settled in the Flemingdon Park area. At the time, Flemingdon Park was notorious for its active gang violence and poverty. This led the Aime’s to look for a constructive outlet for their son. Once Mikey was introduced to a real organized basketball team, his love for the game grew more than ever.
Young Mikey realized early that he had an advantage over his peers. With this advantage he focused on honing his skills, which allowed him to get offers to play basketball at some of the top basketball high schools in the city. Once Aime got to high school started to notice his talent and skill on the court. In the beginning he won a variety of awards which recognized his outstanding accomplishments.
March 7th, 2017, Bien Aime’s life changed. Mikey experienced his first ever major injury in the sport that he loved. That day he got his first concussion. Even as someone who’s played the game for his entire life, Mikey didn’t know concussions were common in the sport of basketball. His defender under-cut him during the game. He landed hard on his head. He was knocked out cold. He woke up lying in a hospital bed, his family by his side.
While healing from his injury he says he suffered from a variety of symptoms that have dramatically affected him till this day.
These symptoms include, but are not limited to; sensitivity to light, dizziness, seizures and nausea. But these symptoms have not only limited Mikey’s ability to get back to his old self, he’s also scared to play basketball again.
Dr Alex St. Pierre, a concussion expert, says that anyone who suffers a heavy impact to the head is likely to experience concussion like symptoms. These symptoms can drastically impact their daily routines.
As for Mikey, he experienced what he likes to call an ‘episode’. He would blackout after trying to participate in any physical activity after suffering his concussion. Due to his symptoms, Mikey is hesitant to do anything too active in the fear of experiencing another ‘episode’ from the result of his concussion.
But Aime’s situation is rare in the sport of basketball. In the NBA there have been 189 cases of concussions from 1999 to now. Basketball isn’t a high impact sport compared to boxing, hockey and soccer.
Currently, Bien Aime is enrolled in university and is steadily working on his health. He also uses his time now to help coach and educate young athletes in his area of Flemingdon Park. Mikey says during this process he was able to view life in a different way. He has now switched his focus to giving back to his community and getting an education. Basketball will always be Mikey’s first love, but he now has a new appreciation for the sport.