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Head Injuries in Sport

Discussion in 'Other Sports' started by Garden Kitty, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

    skatersmum and (deleted member) like this.
  2. skatersmum

    skatersmum New Member

    Thanks for that.

    Really useful information!

    My daughter suffered a fall in a triple throw jump in practice (pairs), hit her head, she was wearing a rugby type helmet, at least, but you would need something more akin to a motorcycle helmet to really protect the head well.

    She has been recovering for a month and has just gone back to school today. The doctors don't really know much about concussion, let alone related to elite sports and said if she felt well enough she could fly, train 8 hours a day, compete etc. after one week (emergency doctor) and, after 1 week, MAX 2 weeks (a neurologist) because she didn't actually lose consciousness.

    Luckily, I found lots of good information on the internet from the hospital of Montreal and from Michigin giving the stepwise return to sport. And our general practioner backed me up and sent her for a CT scan and magnetic resonance before allowing her to return to even school. She trusted my intuition and knowledge of my daughter and used common sense - my daughter looked as white as a sheet still after 3 weeks and was still having symptoms. Our doctor checked for more serious problems with tests. It's not rocket science to see that if someone cannot function properly they shouldn't go back on knife edges on a hard surface, spinning and jolting the head through jumps..... But some doctors, I feel, use learned criteria to judge levels of concussion and don't look at individual cases. Each concussion is different... And brain trauma management seems to be rapidly changing due to further research.

    My daughter will start some low level activity, stationary bike, ballet, etc. when we see she is coping well at school firstly. Then aerobics/moving off-ice activities, then on-ice - no spins or jumps, skating around, then low level spins and jumps on-ice, upping the level each time and leading to normal training and finally competition. Each stage has to be symptom free or she will have to rest again, go back a step and then try again when symptoms are no longer there. Each step should take 1 - 2 days at least.

    Symptoms can vary - not necessarily vomiting, etc. - but may include head pressure, lack of concentration, dazed look, sleepiness, lack of energy, headache, eye ache, sensitivity to noise and/or light, loss of balance, slurred speech, difficulty expressing oneself, fogginess. All of these being more pronounced when tired.

    Sometimes only family members and friends notice these things because they can't always be measured by doctors unless they do neuropsychological tests and preferably are able to compare these with a baseline test carried out before the accident. Previous concussions also tend to make subsequent ones more serious or longer lasting. Scans can show normal results but the concussion can still be there and rushing recovery can make a less serious concussion take as long as a more serious one to get over.

    I think it is important, not just for skaters, or even sportsmen and women, but everyone to recognise these symptoms as it could really save someone's life one day. A second concussion on top of an existing one can have serious, even fatal, consequences (second impact syndrome). In many sports there is so much pressure to get back on the ice (or whatever) too soon. From trainers/ coaches, federations/unions, the skaters themselves.

    Perhaps, due to us delaying my daughter's return to the ice, this has precipitated the break up of her pair team. Perhaps, it was on the cards already. But I am secure in the fact that we, as her family, may have saved her from what could have been a more serious accident.

    Ultimately, there are some things more important than sport in life.

    Look after your head - it is very precious And look out for your loved ones in sport by being aware of the current trends in head injuries!! Even if you have to decide when they return to sport rather than a doctor.

    Thanks again - completely relevant for me at the moment :respec: :D
  3. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

    Sorry to hear about your daughter's accident, Skatersmum, but :respec: to you for being careful about her recovery and taking things a step at a time.
  4. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow Dancing

    Skatersmum, glad that you are being proactive with your daughter's care. I hope that she recovers fully and quickly!

    My son suffered a blow to the head in hockey and developed post-concussive syndrome. It took us about three months from the blow to full diagnoses. We couldn't figure out why he had such massive fatigue and was getting migraines, which he never had before. It was the concussion.

    In addition to the fatigue and headaches/vision disturbances, he also had concentration problems and memory problems. He says now that he doesn't really remember much of what he learned in school the entire fall. Mood swings and depression were also common.

    He got the concussion in the beginning of August and had his last symptoms at the end of March, so it took a lot longer to heal than we expected. Thankfully, he seems fully recovered. His hockey career, however, is over.
  5. fan

    fan Well-Known Member

    took me 8 months to recover from my concussion, and i still have headaches when the weather changes. my spins took the longest to come back - balance was off. pm me if you need any more info.
    skatersmum and (deleted member) like this.
  6. skatersmum

    skatersmum New Member

    Thanks so much for all your good wishes. So glad your son is better, sk8er1964, and that fan you managed to get back into skating again. I will show my daughter these messages as I'm sure they will help her and if we need to ask I will pm you, thanks.

    We just got back from a different neurologist nearly one and a half hours away, recommended by our general practitioner, and finally someone wiser, and, although much older than the other doctors we have seen, more up-to-date with concussion!! He was very good and said my daughter should just concentrate on school until the summer and take things slowly and she may have symptoms for a few months or longer, especially when exerting herself physically, mentally or when nervous. He was very understanding and spoke directly to her rather than me. She was also reassured. No more "it could be psychological" :yikes:or "neurotic mum"... :eek: So we will carry on as we are, step by step.

    Today, some lessons in school were ok but others which involved more concentration were more difficult :COP:. Listening in one class was a problem today with head throbbing and pressure :duh:. Fatigue in another, more boring, lesson more overwhelming than usual :yawn:. Tomorrow is a holiday so that's good. Maybe Wednesday she will go to fewer or more selected classes. The car journey to the doctor was much better than a shorter one a fortnight ago.

    sk8er1964 we can totally concurr with those symptoms... especially the fatigue. Vision was more of a problem earlier but today in the doctor's there was a slight blurriness when dd (dear daughter) was made to look up. Doctor said that we should be thankful there are no serious problems of haematoma, fracture etc. and symptoms should clear up with time. Restored my faith somewhat in doctors today :cheer:

    I will watch out for the moods as dd can be dark and moody sometimes but possibly she is a little more angry at the moment. But, then again, it has been a difficult month and there are lots of feelings surrounding something you have done virtually every day of your life for 9 years.

    I don't want her to give up skating completely "cold turkey" but it has definitely made us all think long and hard about it. And if, when she is better, that is what she chooses then so be it. We will have to just see how it goes and give her time to firstly get better and then to see if she wants to skate and, if so, at what level and/or intensity. If not, life goes on...

    I don't know if I can stand to watch another fall myself. :fragile: I can't even watch recorded Worlds at the moment as the thought of skating just turns my stomach. I hope this will pass with time too as I was a skating fan :watch: before becoming skatersmum :cold: hahaha :lol:.

    Wonder how many head injuries we don't actually hear about from skating. So sad there is no better protection for skaters. It's such a difficult thing to do with padding and head gear - but can be so dangerous. We have been racking our brains for years over this issue as parents but have yet to find acceptable alternatives - hence the rugby helmet as a halfway house in practice with new elements, at our insistence due to a concussion 6 years ago. I've heard that in Sweden they wear even stronger helmets for pairs but it is definitely not the norm. Still, the cycling helmets, they say in the above article, still won't stop concussion in cycling accidents. And I suppose the hockey padding didn't help your son sk8er1964. Or maybe it helps to an extent - to prevent more serious injuries. I imagine it is still difficult to prevent some types of injuries. Pass the bubble wrap and cottonwool!! :shuffle:

    Thanks so much for opening this thread as I think I really needed to get it all off my chest too. :blah: :40beers:

    FSUniverse therapy.... :) :encore: :summer: Better than :nopryde:

    Please excuse the icon overdose - just found the "more" button :rollin:

    (((Big hugs)))
  7. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    Sorry to hear about your daughter's accident. I hope she recovers fully from the concussion. You are right in exercising patience. Concussions are not uncommon among pairs skaters. Katia Gordeeva had some, but she recovered fully. There were others that never recovered.

    Wishing you and your daughter the very best.

    Yes, head injuries are serious and need a lot of attention and care.
  8. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

    Skatersmum, you might find the book "Tour de Life" by Saul Raisin intersting. He was a young pro cyclist who had a bad crash in a race. The first part of the book is mainly about his parents dealing with his life threatening illness, and the second part is more about his therapy and recovery for the traumatic brain injury.

    There are a lot of cycling references, but the story about parents taking care of their kid and the therapy for the TBI go beyond the particular sport. Of course his injury was pretty severe and took a long period of in hospital therapy, but many of the unexpected side effects of TBI are discussed.
  9. skatersmum

    skatersmum New Member

    Thanks Vash01. We hope dd will continue to make a full recovery. She had more headaches than my other dd prior to this concussion and this is her 4th bang on the head so perhaps that was related.

    Garden Kitty thanks for that. I will look it up.

    DD has more symptoms again at home today so I imagine it was from overdoing it yesterday (school followed by long car journey) so we have to go back a step and keep trying school until she can go for a full day with no return to symptoms.
  10. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow Dancing

    Re physical exertion, some of the stuff I read said no physical activities, others said some is ok. Our neurologist said he could do things that didn't carry a risk of another concussion. At first he did nothing, but going from playing hockey three to four days a week in season (after 11 years of playing) to being a couch potato was both mentally and physically hard on him. At Christmas I bought him a bowling ball in hopes that it would give him something to do to cheer him up, and he ended up joining the high school bowling team. I think that sometimes the noise in the bowling alley caused headaches, but the mood improvement of being part of a team again and doing something physically challenging again far outweighed the negatives in our family opinion.

    I see that you are in Spain - I am in the US. Here we have something called a 504 Plan, which is basically to help children with special needs in school. However, it can also be used in situations such as our children's in that it allows schools to give accomodations for post-concussive syndrome as recommended by a doctor. In our case, if DS was taking a test and a headache developed, or he lost the ability to concentrate, he could ask the teacher to let him stop taking the test and finish it at a later time, and the teacher had to grant the request. It also allowed him to request more time on homework (at the teacher's discretion) and gave certain allowances for missing school due to headaches and other symptoms. I was so glad when we got that assistance because it took a heavy weight off of his shoulders - maybe you can see if you have a law like that where you are.

    DS was angry and confused about why this happened to him. He felt like a dummy because his grades were slipping and no matter what he did, no matter how hard he worked, he couldn't seem to make them better. All at once he lost his friends (yeah, he still saw them at school but that's not the same as being part of the hockey team), one of his two main sports, his physical outlet, his self-esteem, and his ability to excel. It was heartbreaking, because there was absolutely nothing I could do as a mother to make it go away. We're always used to fixing things for our children and there is no magic wand or pill to fix this. Thankfully, it does go away on its own, but until it does...:( (Although I do tell him how proud I am of how he handled this major upset to his life!)

    DS made that choice on his own - although I agree with him 100%. It's just not worth it in his case - he was good, but had no intention of making a career out of it. However, he has his true sports love, which is golf - he hopes to play in college and beyond professionally - so that made his decision easier, I think. I always wondered how I would feel when I was no longer a "Hockey Mom", having lived that life for eleven years, and it's ok. I miss the team some times, too, but as you say, life goes on.

    DS was wearing a top of the line hockey helmet. There were two things I'd never scrimp on for hockey - helmets and skates. In his case, the blow came from the side, on the upper cheekbone, and even though the helmet had a protective cage it didn't stop the injury.

    Hugs back at you! (((skatersmum)))
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
  11. deltask8er

    deltask8er Well-Known Member


    The Boogaard Lawsuit We Didn't Expect


    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  12. 4rkidz

    4rkidz plotting, planning and travelling

    skatersmum hope your daughter is doing well :)

    a 4th concussion finished my daughter's athletic career last year.. she was a national speed skater and the speed of the sport when they crash creates more of a shaking of the brain.. the medical system in Quebec is excellent and they always had physicians at the races and although those 4 concussions were over a 5 year period each time her symptoms were worse and as she excels academically in science she really needs her brain :lol: One of those concussion was also through cycling.. I'm so pleased that in her sport they do baseline concussion testing each year now so that when an athlete does fall they can test properly and give good advice.. there seems to be a great deal of research that is having a positive affect on sports..