We are beginning a new program here at TCB. This one is called “Outreach”; the purpose is to publicize the good (we hope the vast majority) and sometimes the not so good of concussion management and experiences across this vast planet. One thing I realized real quick in Zürich is that the stories of the bad are relatively the same, usually highlighted in the media. Meanwhile the stories of good are different and helpful and not heard at all. I am asking our readers to send in stories of your cases (please be mindful identifying specifics) so we can share. There are vast stories in the comment section but I would like to bring forward as many as possible.
The stipulations are simple: 500-2000 words with specific situations that we all can learn from and benefit from, email them to us at email@example.com and consent to possible editing as I see fit. It would be nice if you included a bio or frame of reference, but if you would like to remain anonymous that is fine to (however, it would be good if you included something like “licensed doctor in _____ (state)” or coach, athletic trainer, mom, dad, etc.
I love people who are as, or more, active about concussion awareness, Jay Fraga has shown he means business. He sent in his personal story about concussions, now he is elaborating more on the issue of awareness. I appreciate Jay’s work and urge others to follow in his footsteps.
Beating your head against a wall while suffering from Post Concussion Syndrome is probably counter-productive, yet I seem to find myself doing it (figuratively) virtually every day. We live in an electronic world, and in my electronic travels, I frequently “run” into the very people who I’m trying to get my concussion message across to. The results are typically frustrating and lead me to ask myself why I bother trying to warn people about the perils of concussion.
Searching Twitter with the hash tag ‘#concussion” will provide a comprehensive selection of Tweets that feature illuminating articles and studies about concussion. I find that it also directs me straight to a painful paradox: kids with concussions who’ve been kept home from school on Doctors’ orders in order to heal, yet who are blissfully Tweeting their health away, 140 characters at a time, with the rapidity of an automatic rifle. If I had a nickel for every time I saw something like “Ahhhhhhhh! Home from school. Hate #concussions !”, I’d have the market absolutely cornered when it came to nickels.
RED ALERT!!!!! (DOCTORS and PARENTS- This is where you come in.)
Kids with concussions are sent home because they need full cognitive rest in order to heal. Full cognitive rest cannot occur in a fully lit classroom with any kind of teaching and noise going on. It also cannot occur while your son or daughter is banging out texts and tweets from the comfort of their dark room. The brain needs complete rest in the same way that we need to stay completely off a freshly broken leg. Sleep with zero exposure to any kind of stimulus is the only way for the brain to get complete rest and to appropriate all of its resources to the process of healing. If the brain is sidetracked by thought, valuable energy is diverted from the healing process. This is where it is absolutely imperative, once concussion is diagnosed, for parents to stick their hand out and demand that their son/daughter hands over their phone and make sure that the computer and television stays off. I believe that it’s important for Doctors to re-affirm this loud and clear before their patient ever leaves the examination room once concussion has been diagnosed.
We all know that our reliance on electronic devices is at a historic high. Personally, I get the shakes if I haven’t checked my phone after a period of time. There is a raging debate about the negative impact of portable electronic use in the context of meaningful communication, social ties, family cohesion, etc. I’m fine letting that particular debate occur. There can be absolutely no debate, however, when it comes to understanding that short-term access to electronics is counter-productive in terms of healing from a concussion. Anything less is the equivalent of one of our sons or daughters breaking a leg and us saying, “Now, I want you to go to your room and relax. While you’re doing that, it’s ok if you jump up and down repeatedly on your freshly casted leg”.
As we try to enact standards for athletic compliance in schools regarding concussions along with raising concussion awareness, we also need to bring things like the phone / TV / computer problem to the attention of parents, so that their kids aren’t sandbagged from healing from the start. I would love to see a day where all doctors, across the board, emphatically and verbally drive home the protocol for healing from a concussion rather than leaving some nondescript text in a pack of discharge instructions that might never be read. That would be a great first step in terms of helping to solve the concussion problem.
- Jay Fraga
You can reach Jay through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or @aggrobikes on Twitter.