In Her Own Words: Rachel Abrams

To anyone else September 22 is any other day, for me it is forever etched in my mind; I call it the devil’s day. Many people are slowly beginning to understand concussions, I want to make sure that the world knows how serious they are, how simple it is to get one and what you can go through if you get one. I will do this by explaining my story.

I was a rough tough athletic kid in high school; who had a few injuries during that time, fractured my back twice, tore my quad and fractured my orbital bone. Nothing kept me out for that long; I did rehabilitation, rested for a short time and did physical therapy. I never thought anything of concussions, I was uneducated of this injury. I was one of those kids that thought, “Oh it’s just a bump on the head, I’ll be fine.” I graduated high school and went to a community college upstate, I was going to play soccer and softball there. I was one of the goalkeeper’s on the women’s soccer team and was having the time of my life. What is better for a kid whose life was sports, I loved every part of it, that was what I was known for and who I was. Then came September 22, 2010, when my life changed.

It was during one of our games, I was in goal and my team was up by a few goals if I remember correctly. Sometimes it is hard to keep complete focus when you do not get much action in goal. It was a corner kick from the opposing team, it came into my area and I went out to catch it in the air. It was not a very hard kick, I misjudged it a bit and caught it against the side of my face and then brought it into my hands. It hurt a little bit but I was fine and kept playing, finishing out the rest of the game. Then came the headaches, I didn’t think anything of it because I thought, “oh that barely hit me and hardly hurt, it’s just a little knock to the head.” I practiced the next day and the next 3 days after the hit, the headaches were getting worse. A friend suggested that I go see the athletic trainer and that I may have a concussion. I refused to go see him, I believed that I just had some small headaches and he would take me out when I didn’t need to be sat out. I was forced to go see him and got checked out, I was taken out, just as a precautionary. Then it got worse, my symptoms got worse, now experiencing nausea and increased headaches. I went to the emergency room at a local hospital where they did either a MRI or CAT scan, I don’t remember exactly. Everything came out fine, the hospital gave me medication for my headaches and nausea and I went back to my dorm. This was on Friday September 24, 2010; my mom came up to see my game that Saturday September 25, 2010, when I told her that I was not playing because of a suspected concussion. I ended up having to go home that Monday Continue reading

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Sport of Lacrosse: A view from Dr. Cantu

Have I mentioned that I really LOVE you readers?  In case you have missed it, I do love all of you; you make this blog better every day.  In the mailbag today was an article forwarded to me from a family about lacrosse.  The article is from Inside Lacrosse the January issue, written by Terry Foy.  The article is a question and answer with Dr. Robert Cantu and has wonderful-insightful questions and answers.

Because I cannot in good conscience rip off the entire article I will provide the questions by Inside Lacrosse and some quotes, but mostly summations of the answers by Cantu.  Make sure you visit the article for all the information.

  • How familiar are you with men’s and women’s lacrosse?
    • Just like our stance on woman’s lacrosse, Dr. Cantu is very adamant about putting head-gear on players in that subset of the sport.
  • Are helmets one of the primary actors in diminishing the amount of concussions in lacrosse?
    • Depending on the actual cause of the injury helmets can help in decreasing the amount.  Dr. Cantu’s information provides him with data that show most woman’s lacrosse concussions come from stick strikes to the head.  He is correct in estimating that putting helmets on woman would decrease concussions in that case.  He does echo what we have been telling you from day one; helmets do not prevent the primary reason for concussions in collision sports (rotational forces).
  • Because the NFL changed their rules to protect from head injuries, do you think lacrosse, aside from adding helmets on the women’s side, needs to adjust any rules to create the same protection? Continue reading

ER Doc Disconnect

Last week we ran a story about how there seems to be a disconnect between doctors, primarily ER docs, and the concussion issue (via @pirateatc).  It is going to take some extra work by those that know about this injury to educate those that do not have the full story, including doctors.  After that post I received an email from a reader I would like to share that with you (below in italics).

Dustin,

I’ve been reading your blog on almost a daily basis.  You’ve got great stuff that your writing about.  I commend you for your work.

I concur on the concern over the primary care physicians and the Emergency Room docs.  There really does seem to be a disconnect.  As I noted at our concussion summit, when we surveyed our members and asked them their thoughts about the knowledge of the primary care/ER MDs and the majority of them rated them as fair.  When asking what percentage of cases were either a) not recognized as a concussion b) cleared before appropriate guidelines, the response was about 70% of MDs either do not recognize the injury as a concussion or b) clear them before current guidelines.  That’s a big problem.

There was a recent article published in the J Emergency Medicine Continue reading

Mailbag: Response/Comment

I know we have talked about Michelle Trenum before, in fact she has been a very good sounding board for us here at TCB.  When we posted the Mailbag yesterday she had a thoughtful response and very intuitive words for everyone to see.  She even said it was OK to share with everyone.  So here is the email in full;

I really think what you are doing is so important…I only wish more people knew the information before they needed it instead of reading about it afterwards.

In today’s posting there was a mention of seeing yellow.   Austin and my other son would come home from football practice each day and tell me their “war stories” of particularly difficult or funny things that had happened at that day’s practices.  I enjoyed hearing about the practical jokes; about who was got put in their place by the coach that day; and who made everyone laugh.  They would also update me on particularly hard hits or injuries.  One day Austin told me about being hit so hard by our 300 lb lineman that he passed out for a moment then woke up and everything looked yellow.  He described it like he was looking through a jar of pee.  The mom in me freaked out when he said he’d passed out and he said “it is no big deal, I’m fine, I probably just got the breath knocked out of me because REDACTED is so big and he was on top of me, I don’t think I was really passed out….mom, stop freaking out, I’m fine”.  The possibility of a concussion was never on my radar.  I did mention the story after Continue reading

Mailbag Now Open

This is an open call for your thoughts, questions and observations.

If you have questions or comments about concussions and would like them to be analyzed or commented on, you may send them in. Of importance to me and this blog would be real-life stories about concussions. Either as a professional, like an athletic trainer, or personal, how you or your family has dealt with concussions.

Be advised that upon sending in the emails we can reuse them in a fashion that will help with the awareness of concussions. If you do not want your name included on such posts, please indicate that in the email. Also you can send us tips if you like, however we most likely will not publish information unless it can be verified. Real stories will and can be used, as well as any pictures you want to send our way.

Thank You,

Dustin Fink

theconcussionblog@comcast.net