Parent Advocate: Tracey Mayer

Parent Advocate, Tracey Mayer will be offering up her writings to The Concussion Blog as a resource to the readers, especially the parents out there.  As time allows she will be submitting posts for you to read.  I truly hope that everyone gets a chance to read about concussions from yet another perspective.  Thank you Tracey!  I thought I would pass along this note from Tracey Mayer she sent me the other day:

It’s been a bit over four years since Drew’s injury.  Last night I was thinking holy crap; it was me against the world when I refused to let him return to the field.  Honestly, there was no one on my side—not even my husband.

Clearly, concussion awareness was in its infancy stage at that time.  Back then, I rarely recall seeing any media coverage on concussions, and now I read at least 8-10 articles per day.  I was flipping through the mail yesterday and came across a newsletter from Rush with an article about resting the brain after a concussion – how it is necessary to take at least 2 weeks off from school, etc.   I cannot imagine what things would have been like if there had been even a smidge of academic support when Drew was hurt.  Even more, I can only imagine what might have happened to him had I not dug my heels in and held firm about him not returning to football.

Parents, you know your children better than anyone.  If something doesn’t seem right, most likely it isn’t.  Trust your gut – it costs nothing and generally holds value.  Your child has one brain—the vital organ that runs his or her body.  Protect it at any cost.

Tracey is right, we have come a long way in a very short time, alas we are only scratching the surface on the issue.

8 thoughts on “Parent Advocate: Tracey Mayer

  1. Joana Valek November 14, 2012 / 13:06

    Tracey thank you so much for your information !The rest your brain is such an important discovery. I see concussions in my clients, and I h ave experienced 2 myself. A client had a 160 lb cast iron sink fall on her head from a high shelf in a friend’s garage. Luckily it did not kill the 5’3″ young woman. She only required 12 stitches and was cleared to go to massage 6 clients in the local spa.

    On the 3rd day after the injury she suffered a seizure at work after she finished a session for her 3rd client that day. She was flown out to our nearest hospital and cleared as “fine, no observable problems”. This happened in 1997.

    She found me a month later asking me about cranial sacral therapy. Her eyes looked as she was using some illegal drugs…Her sweet face was quite lopsided. At the beginning of the session we talked about what happened to her .I found out that on the day she suffered the seizure she shoveled 18 inches of heavy spring snow early in the morning…The extra exertion is what she thought was the big problem. We ended the 1 hour session with her looking normal – no longer looking withdrawn like a very ‘stoned’ person…But instead here was a bright eyed person with an even face.

    She asked me to share her story with every doctor I find it appropriate and she was going to tell the physician who treated her that he should let EVERY patient take at least 3 days off from physical work. So seeing now even school is considered an effort is music to my ears. It is never too late to learn it seems.

  2. tracey mayer November 16, 2012 / 14:59

    Hi, Joana
    Academics can be a huge burden for a concussed student. When Drew was injured in Sept., 2008, the only focus at school was on return-to-play. When I asked about what they were going to do in terms of academic support for Drew they looked at me like I was nuts. I learned quickly that there was absolutely nothing in place in regard to an academic recovery plan. You can imagine the struggle Drew went through– we could write volumes. Just thinking about it makes my stomach sick.

    The good news is that many schools now have academic recovery plans in place. This allows the student to rest, as needed. This is so very important. The existing programs serve as a template for other schools to follow, and, in time, our hope is that every school will have a similar program in place.

    Sharing stories can be very powerful. Thanks for sharing yours.


    • pnhswrestling February 7, 2013 / 15:42

      My daughter fell 9 feet on her head in cheerleading back on Nov 15th 2012. She suffered a severe concussion. She has what is called sports concussion amnesia.Has no memory of the fall.
      One month later she was walking into brain pt twice a week.

      I was very disappointed in her school for not having an academic recovery plan in place.They certainly had a sports plan ready to go. Every step and precaution, but nothing to prepare the teachers or the parents on how to handle her school work. She was just instructed to sit there. The teachers told us they had no idea on what to do. Every ounce of information I had to dig and research on my own. I had to educate the administrators and the principal for that matter on what was to happen next.
      The concussion clinic was my new best friend.
      The school soon became very receptive to us learning together.
      Every piece of information I brought to them they added to their website. The teachers wanted to learn more. They were no longer treating each student as a “unique case” as it happens. They had created an academic recovery program for all concussed students and then evaluating each case.

      My daughter is in month three. She is still having physical set backs. She works with tutors twice a week to get her through all of the work she has missed and she still goes to her brain pt twice a week. She was an A student before concussion and she is still actually one again. She has a few incomplete grades that she has time to finish. She cannot do sports for the rest of the year and her stress level sets off migraines that keep her in bed for almost 2 days. This has temporarily ruined her life. She is a fighter though and we will survive. The fog will lift with time and patience. She knows it will.

      Thank you for this blog!

      • Educator Mom February 10, 2013 / 16:44

        That is great to hear that your school was so open to learning and has now developed an academic recovery plan! There are many schools that continue to turn a blind eye. We have fought for two years to get my son the help he needs. And we have seen no movement to developing a more comprehensive plan and system that would benefit other students walking this journey. While it is frustrating to see so little progress in our community, it is exciting to hear great progress in others. That will contribute to a societal expectation that we meet the academic needs, hopes, and dreams of these kids!

      • Tracey Mayer September 17, 2013 / 11:54

        Hi, Dawn
        How is your daughter?

  3. Dawn valles April 16, 2013 / 11:03

    I have a 15 yr old daughter who took a fall on April 1, 2013 ..The last two weeks feel like a nightmare! Angelle is the type of person who leads every one else, guides them to dream and do bigger and better things , she is a child most parents would be proud to have. The last two weeks I feel like I am waiting for my daughter to return, not only do her hands tremble, she is fearful and scared but the hardest thing is her loss of about 5 years of her life, she does not remeber her friends, school, houses she has lived at and though she remembers how to sing and act she has forgotten how to play guitar she also has no memory of learning how to surf , yet she still knows how to sail a boat. I watch her cry at night she soo desperately wants her life and memories back and yet she can’t find them her head has locked them up and for now lost the key. Things that were a big deal and exciting for her are now monotone events that she struggles to understand like making Jazz choir or her upcomming trip to N.Y.U she worked soo hard to get to do these things and all she knows now is how excited she should be ..My once loud daughter who every night would play guitar and sing soo loud the neighbor kids would sit in the driveway just to listen can now barely find her voice and its soo hard to know how to help her …I knoe she’s still alive but I think I was given more advice of how to care for her as a new born them I have ever been given on how to help her through a concusion .

    • Tracey Mayer September 17, 2013 / 11:56

      Hi, Dawn
      How is Angelle?

      • D.M.V February 20, 2014 / 03:33

        Anything 9and under is intact, anything 10-15 is still gone. She looks the same but its really like having her twin sister show up. We heard 3months, 6months maybe a year..well we often forget what she doesn’t know, like her teacher who forgot and started to say you know how my class runs I had you in 9th grade.
        He stoped and apologized knowing she really doesn’t know, me talking about surfing and breaking her foot. (I guess forgetting pain is an okay thing) she was shocked and asked to see her old cast. Her friends she made performing in Hollywood (That Face Book Girl)
        (Get that man away from me)people she once knew and loved.we often drive to what I call do-overs most recently a trip to San Fran, where we slept under the Golden Gate and visited her once favorite Author. I was delighted to find out she was going to do a Shakespeare play, because all of Middle school she loved the Shakespeare fesival and performed all 3yrs (this year though she says is her 1st time doing Shakespeare) .
        She has broken down in tears begging to fix it, she has headaches and times when she just wants to leave this life behind and move somewhere new, she hates when strangers (friends) try to hug her and then they break into tears. They are sure she will remember and your fine if you knew her as a child,(though she may not know you in this time and place) but if you only exsist in the years she doesn’t remember then your relationship has to start over or never again exsist. Life almost a year later has gotten to a point where we rival in the joy of the things she can learn. Her school, ,friends & certain teachers have worked hard to bring her into their world. She believes high school started late April of 2013 and I have to say Aly is a fighter, the school wanted to remove her from her school and to watch Aly try to learn her school was hard, but when she faced failing her classes (how can you pass when you don’t know what they are) .. The school was not at all understanding and so I had a choice remove her or hire a tutor to reteach her.well she spent her summer in school and worked 4x a week 3hrs each day with a tutor. This year her grades are up and she is doing well academically. I had a Nuerologist say” I think the first 3 months must have been the hardest”
        Well I wish that were true, every day the challenges are different. When she didn’t know anything I could guide her, now she is like a sponge anxious to absorb things around her and people around her try to take advantage, some people have great intentions and others lure her into bad situations, some try to tell her they were her best feiends only to tease her and call her a lier , taughting her to tell the truth. She even shut down her face book to avoid cyber bullies. Aly doesn’t always know who to trust and I watch closely. Aly looks the same and often it is easy to forget she’s changed, she trys to act as normal as she possibly can and people can easily forget and her feelings get hurt when they demand that she knows what to do. Often adults will ask how to handle a new (old) situation and the answer surprises them, “just do what you did the first time and don’t let her know it’s the second or third time, ,let her figure that out!” Hows Angelle doing she’s facing challenges,she has at least a hundred teachers (each teaching her something new (old). Wich is why when some one has retrograde amnesia don’t lie to them…someone always fills in the truth. We tried physical and mental therapy, we found they truly didn’t get it and for that reason her school, ,friends, teachers, her laptop and those in the community around her were the best therapy. After all how could a therapist teach her about a life forgotten when they had never met her before and didn’t know who she was before and what was and is still missing. Angelle often says “I don’t know who I was before, but I am learning who I am today and focusing on where I want to go tomorrow.
        She is hoping to attend Cal Arts for college and attends classes on Sat. At the college. As a family we have flown by the sear of our pants, with really no knowledge of what to do, but what I do know is the schools need a TBI training corse for their one truely knew how to help Angelle and at one point it almost cost us her life, they questioned her, called her a lier (she’s an actress could she be acting) is she on drugs whats wrong with her.yelling at her, telling her they would rase her grades if she told the truth. I also had a few teachers and staff that tried hard to help, and Aly still clings to them ..but the damage emotionaly from those who just didn’t get it will last a lifetime.
        If you are a teacher and encounter a student like Angelle, please try to wrap your head around it. Research it, and most of all ask whats needed.
        Google Teen star falls causing rare case of amnesia to hear what Angelle had to say. Most of all realize she did maintain certain skills, in variations of that skill , others took time to reteach her and some are still being learned. Kids like this don’t have a cast on their head and on Angelles first dayca girl with a sprained ankle was treated better then she was, and yet her situation was a lot more serious.

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