Lingering Effects Of A Concussion: Girls Soccer Case

If you have read the blog enough you know that concussions not only have an immediate and short-term consequences, but lasting effects.  With any injury this is the case, however the sequelae of each injury is far less known.  What is becoming more apparent is that bashing your brain around can cause not only physical issues (balance, dizziness, etc.) and cognitive impairments, but emotional/social changes that are much more difficult to define.

As we all remember growing up, and if you have kids of certain age, adolescents seem to go through personality changes as the hormones begin to set in and the transition to adulthood begins.  It would be fairly easy to dismiss subtle changes in a person and chalk it up as “teenagers”.  However, there are cases that can be attributed to the mismanagement of concussions; not allowing for the proper recovery of the injury.

One such instance has been highlighted by the Daily Item – of northeast Pennsylvania – written by Todd Stanford; a case involving a girl’s soccer player.  We all should know that concussions happen in every sport and soccer is near the top of the list.  Along with that we have discussed that girls seem to exhibit different sequelae compared to their boy counterparts.

Here are the excerpts from the article;

Alexia’s second concussion proved disastrous. She suffered severe headaches and could no longer attend school. Then a sophomore, Alexia also went through a personality change.

“The (concussion) really did her in,” her mother says.

“She’s been in therapy for a year. She’s still not the same; I’m not quite sure she’ll ever be the same.

“The two months following (the second concussion) were horrific. It was like a stranger living in my house. … We’ve had to have her committed twice.”

Although Alexia’s plight is troubling there are lessons to be learned from this case.  It is unclear after her first concussion whether she had the proper management approach to allow for full healing.  What is clear is that her personality changes have not only had an effect on her but everyone around her.

Concussions are not only an injury that can be felt by the injured person, but it is truly a systemic injury, that seems invisible to the naked eye, that provide challenges to every person around those that are concussed.

6 thoughts on “Lingering Effects Of A Concussion: Girls Soccer Case

  1. Don Brady, PhD, PsyD, NCSP, Licensed Psychologist and Nationally Certified School Psychologist September 23, 2011 / 02:37

    Another high school soccer story of a suffering STUDENT-athlete and the adverse implications of for school and home


    Sports-related concussions are not limited to specific age ranges, professional athletes, or gender. Adolescents and children are also vulnerable to sustaining sports-related concussions.

    Curtis (2000) portrayed the personal soccer-related concussion experiences of a 16-year-old, high school athlete, Gillian Sawtell.

    The adolescent, a projected future star for her high school team, sustained
    2 concussions within 15 months period from 1999 to 2000. After experiencing the
    second concussion, Gillian was not medically able to return to soccer participation.

    Headaches plagued her in the classroom and at home, sometimes producing tears
    and grimaces but always leaving her in excruciating discomfort. “I get a dull,
    constant pain every day,” she said. It’s sitting in my head, and that will start to
    throb behind my eyes,”

    Gillian was informed by attending medical staff that she sustained a concussion, and would
    probably suffer from migraine headaches for the remainder of her life.

    Physical limitations, cognitive dysfunction, personality changes, and atypical social emotional symptoms are major indicators of a concussion (Damasio, 1994; Evans 1994; Evans 1996; Prigatano, 1992). These presenting temporary and sometimes permanent symptoms exact a social cost that adversely impacts on a person’s ability to perform and successfully complete adaptive daily living tasks such as employment, school, and interpersonal/socialization skills. In addition, death may result from an athlete sustaining a concussion or multiple concussions (Cantu and Voy, 1995; Kelly, 1995; Saunders and Harbaugh, 1984).

    the above are excerpts from Brady (2004)

  2. Carly December 2, 2012 / 20:31

    I am a high school student doing a research paper on the effects of head balls and concussions in soccer in the future. After reading through research articles, I have found out that the most dangerous head injuries and concussions come from direct head-to-head contact. After multiple concussions, it has been proven that concussions in soccer lead to memory loss not only short term but also in the future. So, I feel that the most important thing to do is allow for the brain to heal so it does not have permanent damage.

  3. Carly December 4, 2012 / 07:36

    I am a high school student doing a research paper on how head balls and concussions in soccer affect you in the future. After reading through research articles, I have found out that the most dangerous head injuries and concussions come from direct head-to-head contact or from head balls that you are not ready for. After multiple concussions, it has been proven that concussions in soccer lead to memory loss not only short term but also in the future. So what do you think is the most important way to prevent the concussions so there is not memory loss?

    • Several thoughts / suggestions, Carly.

      1- If you participate in soccer, then you are at risk for sustaining a concussion. Avoiding a concussion / brain injury is an illusion.

      2- It is controversial if a brain heals from suffering a concussion. I personally do not believe the brain does heal for numerous reasons previously commented on and corresponding research shared in this blog and other writings of mine. From my perspective, a brain may functionally heal, but not fully or completely heal.

      3- Concussions are brain injuries that may effect ALL 3 aspects of brain functioning: cognitive (and not just limited to memory), physical aspects- such as vision, hand-eye coordination, speech, various types of headaches, fatigue, sensitivity to light & sound, etc.) and social-emotional / personality aspects.

      Given the numerous possible pervasive effects of suffering brain injury, I strongly recommend you complete more thorough research re adverse effects of sport-related concussions.

      For starters: click on Sport Related Concussion article found under the Management portion of this blog. My wife, Flo, and I authored this article. The content AND references will provide you with further direction.

      If you Google NASP, Sport Related Concussions: Myths and Facts, you will find a link to another article that my wife and I authored. Again the content AND references will provide you with further direction.

      4- Below are excerpts from a paper that I presented during 1999 entitled:

      Soccer Participation: Athletes at risk for concussions ( Brady, Don,1999, Paper presented at NYS Counseling Association).

      Soccer participation may result in suffering concussions via:

      a- head of one player colliding with head of another player;

      b) head collision with another player’s elbow, knee or foot;

      c) head contact with ground or indoor wall;

      d) head collision with the goalpost;

      e) heading the ball struck by another player;

      f) combinations of the above variables;

      g) a blow to a nonhead area of the body which creates a “whiplash” effect on the brain

      5- Suggest you visit another blog: for additional info re the personal adverse effects of soccer-related concussions.

      6- Would appreciate you commenting on this blog re the above info, and after you have an opportunity to complete additional research & reflect upon your findings.

      Best wishes with your research !

    • lifeafterthegame December 5, 2012 / 11:09

      Do you have an email address you can be reached at to further answer your question?

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