Before reading this: Please be smart. Please see a doctor or health care professional–especially when your brain is involved. The main purpose of this post is to bring a small amount of awareness to concussions, whether they be minor or major. I am by no means an expert in this area.
Last Wednesday night at practice we scrimmaged.
We scrimmaged hard.
We scrimmaged well.
And of course with playing hard, there are bound to be injuries. Mostly minor. Every once in awhile major.
Among the handful of minor injuries (typical bruises, velcro burn, etc) last week two heads bounced off the floor (at separate times during the scrimmage) after a big hit. One quite a bit harder than the other; both ending up with concussions. One pretty major, one pretty minor. Both something to take seriously.
This is my second concussion while in the sport of derby. Ironically, the first one happened by slamming my head into the corner of a kitchen cabinet. (I may never live that down). However, we had our very first appearance as the Cornfed Derby Dames just a couple days later in a public scrimmage. I really, really wanted to play. I was given the go ahead as long as I didn’t have any symptoms. Unfortunately, I think my adrenaline covered up the minor symptoms I had left, and I geared up to play. By the end of the scrimmage I knew my noggin wasn’t right, and I began to experience the concussion symptoms I had had a few days earlier but much more intense (slow eye-tracking movement, intense headache, sore neck). After that I was mandated by my Murse to not lace up again until I was one full week without ANY symptoms.
Since I didn’t want my brain to turn to mush, I obeyed.
So, you’d think, when I bounced my head off the floor during scrimmage last Wednesday and felt right away the same symptoms I was familiar with: dizziness, headache, slow eye-tracking movement–that I wouldn’t dare go back in. I hate to say it, but after a few jams I felt less “foggy” and decided I could tough it out (even after Alotta Pushie told me to sit out). Thankfully this time, it only took a solid hit or three from the opponent to realize I was being stupid and to skate off the track, but not before I had a huge headache.
My teammate Sonic the Trackhog‘s noggin bounced hard–like nasty hard–near the beginning of the scrimmage. It was pretty evident right from the moment it happened that she had a concussion. She held her head with the feelings that it might explode at any minute. In fact her doctor said, “You’ve got one doozy of a concussion.” I believe it.
Many symptoms, whether mild like mine or severe like Sonic’s include:
Slow eye-tracking movement (following someone’s finger as they move it right to left in front of you)
Your thinking might feel “foggy” and “slow”
After my first concussion, I happened upon a great article from fiveonfive magazine about concussions. It has some really great info and also talks about taking a baseline cognitive test while you’re healthy so that in the event that your noggin bounces the floor a test can be given to you to access its seriousness.
You can also download a short on the track concussion evaluation form HERE.
And of course, once you have a concussion you are much more susceptible to having them again. So be careful out there, but more importantly (because it’s not like you’re not trying to be careful) be smart. A minor concussion should be taken just as seriously as a major concussion. The healing times will differ, but don’t make either one worse by coming back to play sooner than your brain can handle (I obviously do not have a good track record of playing smart — but hopefully I will now :o) And I give Alotta Pushie permission to sit on me if need be.
Oh and share the love with your coaching staff. They need to hear this stuff too!
Special thanks to Slipper E. Noodle for passing on some links and being concerned for the concussed!
Center for College and University Concussion Assessment
National Athletic Trainers’ Association
And don’t forget about the fiveonfive article HERE
Download the short Cognitive Test
And I always recommend seeing a doctor. Dr. Hunt (aka Dr J-Check at our bouts) has adopted a lot of our team (unfortunately because that means a lot of our team has had reason to see him). If you need a sport’s medicine doctor in Muncie, look him up.
(And now I’ll get off the computer because my brain is trying to heal.)