(KMSP) - Nearly two million-people suffer traumatic brain injuries every year and finding ways to cope with injuries like that has not been easy.
The Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance is hoping to tackle the problem through art. The nonprofit is asking brain injury survivors and their family members to mold and paint masks, helping them to express the internal and emotional struggle of an often invisible injury.
Most people know Jordan Leopold for his performance on the ice. But, the former Minnesota Wild player says his years of playing contact sports have left an unwanted mark on his health.
"To be honest with you, there's times where you're driving down the street and you'll ask yourself twice, where am I going?" Leopold says.
Leopold says he got his first concussion at 11years old and has had numerous others since.
"I've been the player to so-called ‘get his bell rung,’ come back to the bench and they ask you if you're okay and you say 'absolutely I’m fine,’" Leopold says.
Now, the professional athlete is raising awareness of brain injuries through art, along with his daughter and about 200 others.
Leopold says he is making a mask that represents his experience with brain injury.
"Individuals who sustained brain injury for the longest time had a challenging time explaining what they're going through because there's no visible sign and this helps be a visible sign as to what people are dealing with,” Bradley Donaldson with the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance says.