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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

1 comment:

bedford1956 said...


Just found your post today. My daughter had a terrible concussion from Feb 2010 to April 2011. Some of my comments on that experience at MomsTeam.com. Best wishes for TJs complete recovery. Dorothy B.