Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Last winter I picked up my daughter after show choir practice and she told me that while they had been rehearsing a swing dance routine her partner had swung her into the air and she had landed with her head on his knees. She said that it had taken her a few minutes to figure out where she was and she still wasn't sure what had happened.

My heart jumped to my throat. I had picked her up in order to take her to her Irish Dance class. Thank goodness she told me. I realized that she should not be jumping around right after that experience.

I took her home. And to the doctor's the next morning. The doctor and then our school nurse gave me tons of literature on the new information about head injury...

Scary stuff.

She and I were told the exact opposite of what was believed about 'minor' head injuries when I was growing up--or even when I was in nursing school.

They handed me reams of the CDC's recommendations which included:
*DO NOT shake it off,
*DO NOT return to the game.
*If you have a headache DO NOT push your way through it--stop all activity (even reading or thinking) and
*DO NOT resume until you feel better. No gym, no dance, no nothing.

She tolerated only half days of school for more than a month. The school nurse and I worked out a deal: she would go to class (for a while she couldn't tolerate the bus either) when she got a headache she would go to the nurse's for a nap. Then she would return to class--after he second trip to the nurses I would pick her up.

In about 6 weeks she was getting through days without the headaches. She was miles behind on her work.

And there were mood changes.

I had never, ever told my daughter to do her homework... she had always been a motivated and responsible kid.

No more. She was angry, surly, miserable. Teachers were calling me. She was on academic probation for the first time ever.

We were terrified. She was a senior who had college plans... When her grandfather died in March I really did not know what was going to happen.

And none of this surprised her pediatrician.

Fortunately she had VERY supportive friends (who were not into bad habits which would have been very dangerous for her at that point!) She also had a very committed school who refused to let go of her.

It was a scary season.

In time it resolved--by the end of May she was much more like herself again. And now she is a freshman in college and doing fine.

This is all to say there is new information about head injury. Read it. Believe it. Follow it.

Who knows where my daughter would be now if she had gone to dance that night--or if we had not had access to up-to-date information.

I can't even think about it.

I got this video from Wheelie Catholic.

(The picture at the top is a group of Irish dancers ready to perform. The girl on the far left in the sparkly pink dress is my daughter. This picture is pretty old actually... sigh...)


Penny L. Richards said...

I had three concussions in my teens--I was never an athlete or a daredevil, all were accidents during kid activities away from home. And probably none of them were managed as well as you managed your daughter's, so well done! The CDC list makes a lot of sense to me, wish such advice had been around in the 1980s... ;)

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David Tech Guy said...

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