Can you remember where you were on October 22, 2011?
Mathew Glodack can, but barely.
Glodack, a senior defender on the third-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team was at Harder Stadium on the night of October 22, 2011. The Gauchos were playing UC Riverside in a Big West match that they would eventually lose 3-2.
But on that night, the final score was the least of Glodack's worries as he suffered a severe concussion that sidelined him for several months.
"I was going up for a header and another player pushed me from behind and I fell forward," he recalled. "One of my teammates, Fifi (Baiden), was kind of going backwards on the play and he kicked me as I was going down. I got knocked pretty good, and I was out of it from there on out."
It became apparent, almost immediately, that there was something seriously wrong.
"I was conscious, but when I tried to get up, I remember stumbling and couldn't stand up by myself," Glodack said. "At first I was on the sideline for a bit, but then I started to feel nauseous. I went back into the locker room and I started vomiting, which wasn't fun because I didn't have any food in me."
At that point, the Columbus, N.J., native was loaded into the ambulance and transported to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a cochlear concussion and assumed he would only be out a few weeks.
Glodack was wrong. He wasn't cleared to play again until April.
"There was no set date of when I could come back," he said. "I would meet with the doctor every week and tell him how I felt, and it just wasn't getting any better. It was a really slow process.
A computer science major, Glodack spends his share of time staring at a computer screen. The concussion made that almost unbearable.
"The first week I got hurt, I stayed home," Glodack said. "I was on the computer a lot there, and I kept getting a lot of headaches, which was really frustrating. When I went to class, it was the same problem. It was tough, but you just need to get your homework and projects done."
Glodack was cleared to play in April, but he was restricted from heading the ball.
"It was awesome coming back," he said. "I know I still couldn't head the ball for a couple of months, but I was excited to get back on the field and do what I love to do. In the spring, it (the concussion) was definitely in the back of my mind. I wasn't allowed to head the ball, but I still did a couple of times."
Over the summer, Glodack tried to regain his fitness by getting into as many games as possible.
"It was tough getting into soccer shape," he said, "but hard work pays off in the end."
Glodack's hard work didn't simply include his on-the-field time. Before he was allowed to return to the pitch, he figured out another way to prepare himself for his senior season.
"You don't realize what you have until you are actually injured," he said. "You get to look at the other side of the game. I started watching more film, and started learning what I should be doing and what I shouldn't be doing on the field. It's hard to keep doing it, but you always have to be a student of the game."
Early in the 2012 season, Glodack's hard work to return is paying off. No. 3 UCSB is 5-0-1 and has equaled its highest national ranking since the outset of the 2007 campaign when it topped the polls. Glodack has played in all six matches, starting five. From his defender spot, he has tallied one assist.
"We're off to a great start as a team," he said. "I think we can go pretty far as a team as long as we all stay committed, work hard, and do the right things."
Glodack's contributions to the Gauchos' success are far more than statistical. His effort to return to the field quickly and his ability to overcome a serious setback have served as inspiration to his teammates. He has started to become one of the team's leaders.
"I try to communicate as much as I can on the field, both for myself and my teammates," said Glodack. "As a defender, my teammates help out on that front, but we just try to be the eyes of the team behind the play."
Glodack and the Gauchos will have a major test on Friday night, Sept. 21 when they host No. 12 UCLA in a 6:00 p.m. contest. The last time the teams met at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium UCSB won 2-0 and attracted the largest on-campus crowd ever to witness a collegiate soccer match, 15,896
Season and single-game tickets remain on sale. Fans can purchase tickets by dropping by the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.