Friday, April 6, 2012

Football and Concussions

Despite all of the reading I do, I knew I needed help and guidance this morning. As I was driving down the highway, I picked up the phone to get the support I so desperately needed.

My confusion started when I received a phone call on my way to pick up my son from school for Easter weekend this morning. My son called me and then immediately asked me to hold on. He didn’t come back on the phone, but the trainer from his football team did instead.

The trainer started talking nonsense. I wanted to cut to the chase so I jumped right in and asked if my son was hurt. Why else would the trainer be on the phone with me? He said he suspected a concussion. A lot of things raced through my mind and then my mind went blank. Crap!

The trainer was happy I was already on my way to the school and said he would give me more details when I got to the school.

My son has been playing football for a long time and has been very blessed to have been kept relatively safe through all of those years. I also thought about how we were able to get his Migraines under excellent control after we discovered he had them two years ago yet my sister Pam is still struggling to get her head pain controlled after she had a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) last year. I don’t want him to start going through this regular head battle.

After hanging up with the trainer, I needed to put my head back on straight so I called Pam. Luckily she was there and answered her phone.

Before Pam had much of a chance to say anything, I jumped right in and said, "I know I should know what to do, what to say and what to ask, but my mind is completely blank. I need your help."

Not only has Pam suffered TBI, but she is also a nurse, an EMT and I have been sending her links for a while to some great articles on TBI and now it was my turn to lean on her. It was nice that she was able to calm me down enough to start thinking rationally again.

Here are some of the great TBI articles that I need to familiarize me with again and to hopefully look forward to future treatments for TBI:

Migraines, TBI & Short Term Memory Strategies by Diana Lee - For patients whose migraines are the result of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), memory loss is a huge, frustrating obstacle. Particularly short term memory issues. Certain medications can cause memory problems, too.

Traumatic Brain Injury & Migraine by Nancy Bonk - Every year close to 1.7 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Most people will recover after a few days of rest and return to their normal activities without any residual effects. Others will have a long, arduous road to recovery due to the extent of their trauma and may have lingering problems for years to come.

Migraines and Brain Injury Awareness Month by Teri Robert - Although a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can't cause us to have Migraine disease, it can cause Migraineurs to be more susceptible to their triggers. Brain injuries can also cause headaches that are considered Migraine-like and may even respond to Migraine-specific medications....

Traumatic Brain Injury: The 2012 Congressional Hearing by Christopher Regal - On March 19, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health held a hearing with regards to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), designed to review the efforts for prevention and treatment of TBI (Committee on Energy and Commerce, 2012).

After I got to the campus, I met up with the trainer and my son. The trainer said nobody saw my son get injured. That he walked to the sideline where he overheard him make a comment to another player about not remembering how he got there. The trainer started questioning him and immediately told the coaches he was done for the day.

My son did not have any short term memory. He could not remember much from today or even the day before. He had problems following simple directions since he would forget them shortly after they were given to him. This is all scary stuff for any kid, but he has also been on the Dean’s list the last few semesters too.

After the trainer filled me in on everything, we went to the ED. I have to say, they were really great there. They brought us back immediately where he was seen by a doctor pretty quickly. They ordered a CT Scan to make sure there was no bleeding. Luck was finally on our side and the CT Scan was clean. He was not himself all the way to the hospital and started retaining some of his memory as we were at the hospital.

We went back to see the trainer after the hospital. He filled us in on what happened as they pulled the films of the plays since nobody knew what really happened to my son as he walked off of the field by himself and no one saw anything.

The trainer said he actually played ten more plays after he injured his head. How scary is that? He went out for an overthrown pass. He was hit in his side where his head was drilled into the ground and bounced up, but he also appeared to get up right away.

For the next ten plays, he was right on target with what he needed to do for some plays, but was floundering for others. I think it’s amazing and a miracle that he didn’t hit his head again. I can’t imagine what he would have been like if he had. I also can’t imagine that no teammates would not have noticed him in the condition he was in.

I am very thankful for our early Easter miracle and pray he keeps going in the right direction. I am also glad that he will be home for the next few nights where I can keep a close eye on him.  Do you get forgetful when something affects your child like this out of the blue?

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