All photos on this blog are the property of Mary McGinty Photography (unless noted otherwise) photos may not be used or copied without my permission

Nov 27, 2011

family and Thanksgiving

 Tim's brother Mike and family came in from Colorado for the week. My niece Kristin and her fiance Jack came in from Boston. Jack is from England and they met at college in Boston. It was a great week and loads of fun. My sister in law Chris is the blond version of me. After the few months I've had it was great to just laugh. I set my timer on the camera to capture all of us...clearly I belong behind the camera. My right arm was injured (unable to move or use.. ridiculous pain) so I couldn't even do my hair or readjust my scrunchie. Below I prematurely started cheering at the success of the timed pictures (there are at least 4 more like it)

The rope swing on the hill was a huge hit

 Karrick and Fergie snuggling 

I tried super hard to get my other 2 nieces over for a total grandchildren picture but was not successful

Nov 25, 2011

A boy and his dog

 I must admit The lack of sun made for some unique coloring in my photos

Nov 23, 2011

the football player and the Pom

  TJ and I attended Glenbard East's pom competition in Blue Island to watch his girlfriend Alexis perform. They took 1st in their division in kick. 
Yay Glenbard East! Alexis was just adorable as always
I still have to chaperone  TJ to any function as he has a 30min window before the eyes glaze over and the blue circles set in. We had to leave for an hour between her performance and the awards ceremony to rest his brain

Nov 19, 2011

A mother nightmare part 2

A sad mom is getting angry...a sad mom with a loud voice that will be heard!

TJ "getting his bell rung 2010"

FYI Update
2-10-202 TJ has "Post concussive syndrome" not SIS, Im not changing the post

I've learned a new term "Second Impact Syndrome" or SIS

SIS occurs when an athlete suffers a mild head injury, returns to play too soon, and suffers what may be a relatively minor second hit before the brain has fully healed. If the second injury occurs while the individual still has symptoms from the first impact, the result can be a rapid, catastrophic increase in pressure within the brain. Effects of SIS include physical paralysis, mental disabilities, and epilepsy. Death can occur approximately 50% of the time.
"SIS can affect anyone exposed to a mild or moderate concussion; there's no age discrimination" notes Kelly. "But it seems to affect teenagers more often because they are the least likely to report their injuries or take the time to recover from a concussion when they do get hurt. They head back into the game too soon, not fully aware of the risks they are taking.
According to James P Kelly, director of the brain injury program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

By Jeffrey H Tyler, Michael E Nelson, USA Today

What I originally thought was a routine hazard of football is turning into a nightmare affecting parents and kids across the country. A nightmare that could of been prevented in our case. Had TJ been pulled out of his practice after his 1st crushing blow to the back of his head, he most likely would have been back to normal within a few days. Instead he was left out on the field, impaired...a 15 year old boy. My 15 year old boy suffered a catastrophic 2nd blow to an already compromised brain...a mere 10 minutes after the 1 st one. The coach didn't pull him after the second blow either. TJ dazed and confused hid in the background and stood there. Asking if someone is okay doesn't cut it in my book....99% of  football players would say they were fine (in my opinion) when in fact they were impaired. 
 6 1/2 weeks later this second blow has him out of school indefinitely. A blow that has left him with crippling headaches, short term memory loss, confusion, vision impairment, inability to concentrate and irritability. Not to mention TJ is basically a prisoner in his shade drawn room. He doesn't go out much because light and movement over-stimulate his brain. TJ has had to drop honors chemistry and German 2. Too much time has gone by that it is impossible to catch up. He is weeks behind in all his other classes, but can't do anything about it.  Even if he could read (words and lines jump around) he couldn't remember anything he reads .
In the back of my mind is "will he graduate on time, will he be cleared to play Sophomore baseball? Will he one day be my outgoing , funny, quick teenager again?

At the football meeting there was talk of all the new guidelines for concussion safety. Never once did I hear anything about SIS...I did leave for 3 minutes to use the washroom. Even if it was mentioned this happened at practice with no parents present. Where were all these safety measures? I never even received a phone call saying "hey, your son got his bell rung" 
 NOTHING!  no heads up at all

Let me tell you about another 15 year old boy I'll cal "Ed". Ed is a freshman football player at a Catholic high school in the western Suburbs. 2 days after TJ's injury Ed, a fullback was playing in his Friday night game and took a mean blow to the side of the head . A clang of helmets so hard that "the loudest helmet hit I've ever heard" was repeated in the stands. Ed hit the ground, a few seconds later he jumped up and joined the huddle. "my head hurts" Ed told his team mates. Another player told him he didn't look right and to go sit down. Too late, the play was starting. That very next play Ed took another helmet hit front to front...this time he didn't get up and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. 
Ed's CT and MRI were normal just like TJ's
Ed was told he'd be fine in a few days just like TJ.
Ed went back to school 1/2 days just like TJ
Ed suffered a seizure on the 3rd day of school

Damage doesn't always set right in, TJ went back to school the next day and I pulled him out...I knew something was wrong. Parents need to take control of the situation

ED and TJ are at Marionjoy together...two 15 year old boys that otherwise never would have met had they not fallen through the cracks. Who let these boy down? Both boys are on the same 3 prescription drugs just to get through the day. These 15 year old boys are identical in every sign and symptom except that Ed has long term memory loss and TJ has short term memory loss. Maybe the difference between getting hit in the side of the head vs the back...I don't know. What I do know is that both these boys were not removed from the game/practice after the 1st hit. Both of these boys lives are on hold because they "were not removed after the 1st hit"

Ed doesn't remember playing basketball...he was a phenomenal player according to his dad. At the HS on scholarship...he won't be joining his teammates out on the court. His dad says he doesn't know store names, what a clock is, even what a NIKE swoosh is

We sit together and share our memory loss stories and sometime laugh, but not that "haha funny laugh" more like the "if we don't laugh we will cry laugh" We try to decide which is worse..long or short term memory loss

To talk to ED or TJ one wouldn't suspect anything wrong...they look normal ,they speak normally...maybe a little slower than usual because the thought have to be processed. 
If TJ or ED were in a wheelchair or drooling people may take more notice and start demanding change. Maybe holding coaches to a higher standard of care with our kids.
As this drags on week after week I find myself getting really angry. This didn't have to happen, had someone....anyone pulled TJ out after the first hit, he most likely would have been "A" okay by now.
 Kids are afraid to speak up for fear of being labeled a "sissy" Football players are suppose to be tough and they are...the only high school sport that allows 200lb + , conditioned boys/men to intentionally slam each other to the ground. The harder the hit or fall...the better. The more stunned...the better

Nov 14, 2011

TJ's concussion

TJ has been in the day program at Marionjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton. He was evaluated by a team of doctors and therapists (speech, occupational and physical) We met with the Director of Psychology Brain Injury coordinator today and he decided to pull TJ out of school as he failed the eye convergence test, memory test and concentration test. The best way to recover from a brain injury is to rest the brain...sleep. Going back to school would aggravate and over stimulate TJ's brain. There is a zero benefit for him to go to school. He will continue to work with the home tutor. 
TJ is currently on 2 migraine medications and 1 medication to help him concentrate

I hate camera phones...but I couldn't traipse in there with my big Canon now could I?
Look how much taller TJ is than his PT...she was tough as nails

 TJ with the physical therapist that helps him with balance. He always is on a 1/2 ball or cushion. By the time he was done (had OT and speech prior) his eyes were glossed over, he was dizzy with a wicked headache

he was good at this...football drills

Nov 13, 2011

butchers block

 A year or so ago Tim bought wood to build himself a new desk...today on a whim He decided to build me a much needed butchers block from scratch. I love the below picture of Tim running to save the block from the chair being blown by the wind
 See the pillow blowing?

It still needs to be sanded and stained . Tim is also going to add 2 shelves and some hooks. Our kitchen has almost no counter space so this is a big improvement

Concussion's are a big deal...one mothers journey

FYI Update
2-10-202 TJ has "Post concussive syndrome" not SIS, Im not changing the post

On Oct 5th TJ suffered a double concussion during football practice. Below is my account of the 1st three weeks 

He suffered from horrible headaches, dizziness, confusion, fuzzy peripheral and short term memory loss. He was unable to attend school, so he was provided a home tutor by the school paid for by the state
I'm going to try to summarize the last the last 21 days out of 39 and counting and then keep a current journal here.
I am not a medical professional, this is only my story of my sons injury. Every concussion is different, no 2 are the same. Please check with your own doctor as I am not giving medical advice.
The Neurologist says TJ suffered a double concussion in a 10 min span. What makes concussions so dangerous is when you suffer a 2nd blow before the 1st one has healed 100%. There has been so much news about the damage football players have due to getting hit and jumping back into action before they are healed
(all sports are included, Im just going with my personal experience-football)

NFL coming to grips with concussions

Similar to professional boxers, long-time NFL players are at risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, due to continually sustaining brain trauma. The NFL began issuing guidelines concerning concussions in 2007, according to Bloomberg, but many former players protest that the league doesn’t do enough to assist those with the most debilitating injuries.
In 2010, the NFL admitted that concussions put former players at risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, memory loss, dementia and other neurological symptoms. Former professional football players are especially at risk for developing mild cognitive impairment, commonly referred to as MCI. MCI is a common precursor to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. A 2008 survey by the NFL of former players over the age of 50 included surveys for their spouses to complete. Of those who responded, it was noted that 35 percent had some form of cognitive impairment.
' August 19, 2011  Newsytype.com'

It was most likely TJ's second blow that put him over.

A recap:
 Wed,10-5-2011 TJ plays wide receiver for his sophomore high school football team. During a routine after school practice, TJ was slammed from behind, a helmet to helmet hit. TJ slammed to the ground and remembers everything going to a dream like state. He remembers people asking if he was okay. Although shaky and confused TJ got up and continued to play. About 10 minutes later TJ was running with the ball and hit full force helmet to helmet (front to front) tripped and slammed his head to the ground again. All in all it was 2 brutal helmet hits and 2 head hits to the ground. TJ again remembers getting up all confused and kinda hiding in the back of the pack dazed. It is believed he did not lose consciousness.

Why didn't the coaches pull him out, I don't know. TJ was clearly too impaired to make any judgments after the initial blow

My girlfriend drove TJ home and commented to me that 'he just didn't looked right'. I was getting take out with Tim when TJ called me, I immediately knew something was wrong. His speech was off almost like he was stoned
 "mom, I think I have a concussion"
TJ's eyes were red and glossy, he had funny colored circles under each eye and he was dazed. We watched him closely and he went to bed as usual.

The next morning 
10-6-2011 TJ woke up, took some Advil and got dressed for school. After school he went to football practice. I had text the coach about what was going on and said I wanted TJ to see the trainer and have the IMPACT test. TJ saw the trainer, was not given the test, but was told to sit out and watch the practice (which means stand and watch). I don't know if the head coach relayed my message or if they wait to do the impact test when all signs and symptoms are gone. TJ was an absolute wreck when he came home from practice and I had to make a "mom" decision to pull him from "standing on the sidelines to watch a 2 1/2 hr practice which is strongly encouraged" TJ kept telling me "Mom, make sure you tell all the coaches that this is your decision, not mine"  I'm sure the coaches were pissed, as to this day (day 39) not one has called or reached out to us. The trainer and Athletic coordinator have called

TJ's reaction shows me kids are still considered "a sissy" or not a true football player if they don't jump back into battle. TFB (too fucking bad) is my thought...parents are the only true advocate for their children. Coaches do not always have the best interests of the child in mind 

Fri, 10-7-2100- I got an emergency appointment with the pediatrician who ordered a STAT CT with STAT results. CT was normal
That day I realized that TJ had short term memory loss when he called me and asked me a question that we had gone over 2 hrs prior ( did I tell his coach and how were we getting to the game that evening)
TJ wanted to watch that night game in West Chicago. The last thing I wanted was TJ on the bus being banged around so I drove him and stayed with him, as I had already lost faith in the coaches to take care of my son. ( I get that they would be busy with the game) The trainer did come talk to me and TJ didn't tell him how bad it was when he saw him. He til this day is on my good list. He has called the home to check on TJ and quickly returns my calls. I was afraid for TJ standing on the sidelines...I had him stand further back. I don't believe he had the reflex ability to move if someone was tackled on the sidelines.We had to leave the game early as TJ got a severe headache and extremely dizzy.
The next 2 weeks TJ did not attend school. His signs and symptoms just got worse.
  1. severe headaches
  2. dizziness
  3. nausea
  4. blurred peripheral vision 
  5. short term memory
  6. confusion
  7. extreme light sensitivity
  8. extreme sensitivity to movement around him

In the mean time TJ's school counselor set up a home tutor and put a plan of action in place. She has been incredible! Keeping all teachers in the loop and providing everything possible to accommodate TJ. TJ's tutor came every morning at 9am...the 1st session was only 20 min as TJ's brain couldn't handle it. Headaches set in and words jumped around. Hank, the tutor has a lot of experience with kids and concussions. He recommended Marionjoy for rehab. 

Tue, 10-25-2011-The Neurologist came in a hour early to see TJ  (he was booked a month out) due to the severity of the injury. I really liked the doctor he put TJ on Amitriptyline now used to treat migraines and concussions. I was told to schedule an MRI with contrast. The doc agreed with sending TJ to Marionjoy for a Neuro-psych evaluation. The MRI was negative

next up: TJ has become a prisoner of his room 
Marionjoy Rehab

Nov 12, 2011

My week minus anything concussion related

 Today Callahan competed in his 1st mathlete at Montini high School. There were 24 schools and 300 kids in grades 6-8. Cal is back row second from left...yes the tallest kid on the team

 Just my sweet baby

 View from my porch...very pretty block

Karrick has been working on his book for 8 months now. It's a pencil drawn continuous story. Since before Halloween he won't write without his cape...sometimes he'll say "where is my pimp hat" which is wrong on every level

Karrick brought his book to school to read to the class (after days of asking his teacher)
I asked what she thought of it and he replied with a big smile
"She said I sure do think outside the box!!"

He is definitely his own person