so now what? | concussions part 2

I blame the fact that I have a concussion that I didn’t also state in my last post what to do after you hit your head.

I think I was banking on the fact that you would go over and read that whole fiveonfive article about concussions. You did right? Well, just in case you didn’t, I thought I’d pull out some important facts worth knowing ( … and THEN bounce over there and read the whole article. It’s really good. I promise.)

AND PLEASE, before reading this: 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. Every one is different and may have different experiences involving concussions.

As mentioned previously, I knew I was concussed right away last week by the foggy, slow moving brain feeling I had. Obviously the headache was a good sign too. And Sonic’s “my head is going to explode” statement is a pretty good indication that your brain is swelling. But again, I’m not a doctor. And remember, you may not experience headaches at all, which is another good reason to take the baseline tests. What am I talking about? Read my last post, then come back over here :o)

First of all, important to note: take acetaminophen if needed, but not ibuprofen or aspirin as they can promote bleeding.

Okay, so how did I feel 48 hours later with a minor concussion? My headache was pretty much gone, but my neck and shoulders felt like I had been head-banging all night to Quiet Riot (give me a break, the last time I head-banged was at an 8th grade dance). Also, my eye movement still felt slow as it was hard to focus on anything for long amounts of time. And my brain still felt pretty foggy.

I know that Sonic still had a pretty nasty headache 48 hours later, so her healing time is going to take a little longer.

72 hours later, I could tell that I overdid it the day before working on the computer and watching shows off the iPad. I ended up taking a 5-hour nap yesterday and another one today because I just felt off and foggy again. I’m sharing this because, I’m not doing the greatest job at letting my brain heal.

According to the fiveonfive article:

Rest is the only actual treatment for concussion. This means both physical and mental rest. The hardest part is resting the brain, but it is the most important part of “treatment”. This involves not using the brain for anything other than basic life functions until the symptoms subside. Initially for a day or two, a quiet, dimly-lit environment is beneficial. Reading, tasks requiring mental effort and concentration, watching TV, and the like should be avoided until the symptoms subside. Ideally, this involves time off work. Physical rest is also needed. If the symptoms subside but re-occur on resuming mental and physical activity, rest must be resumed.

Oy. This is so true. And definitely the hardest part for me. Obviously I should really not be blogging right now. I promise I will finish this post and get off and rest my brain some more. I can’t play derby until my brain is 100% healed. Mush brain is not an option for me. But I’ll be honest, I’m afraid I’ll ignore symptoms again. Especially when they seem so minor at this point. Maybe I’m the only one, but it’s hard to take a concussion seriously when all I feel is a tiny bit foggy-brained at this point. It’s hard to admit that I could actually make things much worse for myself, like:

“Second impact injury (another injury to the brain before healing has occurred) can result in dangerous and chronic dysfunction of the brain, including death.”

Yeah. That’s not a pretty thought. I might need to just sharpie that across my new helmet as a constant reminder to play smart. And speaking of new helmets. I wondered if I should get a new one since the one I was wearing was a multiple impact design and certified to take lots of knocks. I found this article at xSportsProtective:

What’s our take? Both sides are right. It comes down to this: what are you comfortable with? One guideline may be this: if the impact was hard enough to make you say “wow, that was a hard hit”, then replace the helmet, SXP or not.

That was good enough for me, and my new helmet arrived yesterday. (Random side note. I purchased my helmet at zappos at 10 pm Thursday and it arrived at my doorstep the very next day! Free ship!)

So, I’m sure you’re asking now: When I can I lace up my skates?

Because each concussion is so individualized, the RTP must be individualized for the skater. Blanket rules don’t work well. In general, the milder the concussion, the sooner RTP can happen. The time frame may be a week to as long as several weeks. But it must be under the supervision of the skater’s own physician and the team medical staff working together. The key determinant is that the symptoms and signs must have resolved completely AND must not start up with the resumption of normal, non-sport activities. Once that is true, gradual return to sport-related, but non-contact activities is instituted. If the skater remains symptom-free, then gradual return to contact sport activities can be done. There are instances where the skater will be well and return to contact sport activities but have a relapse of symptoms some days to weeks later even without a new head trauma. This is known as post-concussion syndrome and requires further medical evaluation with a neurologist.

For me, with my last concussion, the one week without ANY symptoms worked out well. That meant I was actually off skates for a little over 2 weeks. Knowing your body, being conservative, and being honest with yourself seems to be the best bet.

Have I completely bored you with concussion talk? Maybe you’re smarter than me. I hope so. But like I said, I just don’t trust myself and my competitive side to be serious enough about my brain. Lucky for me I live with a Murse and he (or as he said, Murse, R. to the freikin N.) will have the final say. And the Diva in me will just have to shut it.

LINKS (Thanks Slipper E. Noodle!)

Also, for more information about concussions, testing, or professionals in the Indianapolis area that specialize in sports concussions, check out the Athletes Concussion Alliance here: They do the same baseline testing that the NHL , NFL, and several other professional leagues use (ImPact testing) and they can do it for super affordable rates. They are also big into dissemination of information and happy to come to speak to roller derby leagues about the seriousness of concussions on your cognitive abilities.

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