Concussions mar season for GW transgender player
At the start of the season, Kye Allums was one of a kind – an
openly transgender member of the George Washington women’s
It wasn’t long before he became someone with an all-too-common
problem: The athlete whose season is cut short because of a
”My big thing is my memory,” Allums told The Associated Press.
”Like, when I start speaking, I’ll forget what I was talking
Allums suffered two concussions during games early in the
season. The last one, he said, was his eighth concussion overall
and happened when he ran into a screen that jerked his head to the
side and caused his brain ”to shake around a little bit.”
”I’ve been talking to the doctors a lot,” Allums said. ”And
they say if this was football, I’d pretty much be done.”
On Nov. 3, Allums was the center of a news conference at which
he announced: ”I am a male on a female team.” He said he felt
like a man inside a woman’s body, but that he would postpone the
treatments and surgery that would anatomically change his gender
because he wanted to continue playing basketball for the women’s
Allums became an instant role model for transgender people. He
received messages from those who said they were proud of him and
inspired by him. His presence on the court throughout the season
would raise his profile even more and would by itself help tell his
But Allums played in only eight games before the second
concussion ended his season. Interviews were out because coach Mike
Bozeman considered the transgender subject closed during the season
– the coach wanted the focus to be solely on basketball. Allums
quickly and quietly faded away as a topic of basketball
That is, until Allums’ mother gave an interview to The
Washington Post late last month in which she claimed that Allums
had been cleared to play but that school officials weren’t allowing
him to return. She also complained about the school’s decision not
to let him talk about his transgender status during the season.
Allums, however, told the AP that he still has multiple
concussion symptoms and hasn’t been cleared to play. He said he was
”fine with the decision” not to have him do interviews during the
season because the ”coach has every right” to make sure the
players are focused on the game.
”That was my mom really just being an outsider looking in …
like any parent would in trying to protect her child,” Allums
said. ”My mom is a very aggressive person, and she was saying what
she thought things were.”
Now that the season is over, Allums plans to tell his story
through speaking engagements and other forums.
”It meant a lot to me to be able to help and affect others in a
positive way,” he said. ”I just want to get my message out there
as much as I can while I’m not playing.”
Allums said he doesn’t regret going public, nor does he regret
putting off his testosterone treatments and surgery for basketball.
He says the feedback he has received has been mostly positive,
although he has also heard from detractors.
”It’s pretty much people just stating their opinions about
either religion or what they think I’m doing or what they think
transgender is,” Allums said. ”But most of the time it’s just
people that don’t really know what they’re talking about. They
don’t take the time to actually understand what things are. Those
things don’t really bother me because if you don’t what you’re
talking about, then you don’t know what you’re talking about. I
just brush it off, really, and just keep moving.”
Allums said he will be on the basketball team again in the fall
– his senior season – if his concussion symptoms have finally
subsided and he is cleared to play.
”I’m a fighter. I’m still trying to come back,” Allums said.
”I really do want to come back and play.”
And if he can’t?
”I”ll just be trying to make some kind of difference in the
world,” he said. ”Try to get into grad school and look forward to