Fox 9's Chief Meteorologist Ian Leonard hasn't been on TV recently because he suffered a serious concussion. Now, he's telling the story of how it happened and what recovery has been like.
"This is the worst thing that's ever happened to me," Leonard said frankly.
Though some of his forecast fans may not know it, Leonard is a big soccer fan. Each year, he attends the fantasy camp run by Minnesota United and plays goalie.
"It's my position, and it's kind of like reliving my glory days," he said.
Unfortunately, his year's event wasn't all fun and games.
"I went up for a high ball and went to punch the ball away," Leonard recalled. "On the way down, unfortunately, somebody's hands were flailing a bit and they ended up punching me in the nose."
The force of the collision broke Leonard's nose, but he said other than the soreness, swelling and bleeding, he felt fine at first.
After three days, everything changed. It began with really intense headaches, and although he attributed it to the broken nose, no medicine seemed to help.
"Doctors sent me in for a CAT scan, then an MRI, and started doing concussion tests," Leonard explained.
Leonard was officially diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, but it's been difficult to accept.
"You don't have a cast on, and you feel weird being the dizzy guy," he said. "You're like, 'Well, I should just be able to shake my head and this should all be gone.'"
But it doesn't go away, and that means Leonard has spent most of his days in a darkened room.
"Watching TV is pretty hard, so I don't do it," he explained. "I listen to iRadio, and I have a little … fuzzy blanket over my face because when it gets really bad, you just need complete solitude."
Some days, Leonard says he wakes up and doesn't feel too bad -- but it doesn't always last.
"Four hours later, you better check back with me," he said.
Overall, Leonard has said the experience has been a humbling one -- and a challenging one for someone who is admittedly impatient.
"We are programmed, as a people, to have a week's vacation," he said. "You're programmed, as a person, to have maybe a few days off when you're sick. Anything greater than that feels very uncomfortable. You get to four weeks off -- where every day, you're dizzy, the word uncomfortable doesn't fit that anymore."
Despite the struggle, Leonard said he has been overwhelmed by the kind words everyone has sent his way. On Sunday, he said he can actually focus on a computer screen so he is finally getting to read them -- and he is getting better.
As for when he'll be back, Fox 9 will let the doctors and Leonard make that determination. He is missed, and he will be welcomed back when the time comes.