Remember last week, when I asked when hockey season would ever end?
It did, but not in a nice way. Griffin got a concussion on the first day of camp, so camp was over. Also over for the next month: riding a bike, rollerblading, taking power skating lessons, horsing around with his brothers–pretty much all the things that make a boy’s summer. If you have been following discussions in the news about concussions in the NHL, you will know that one of the most dangerous aspects of concussion is exposing the player to injury again. A second injury can increase the damage exponentially.
At the end of day one of camp, Griffin slipped while chasing the puck during a scrimmage. No other players were involved. He was wearing a helmet. There are no marks on his helmet, no bruises or lumps on his head. He said he felt a bit dizzy after falling, but his shift ended right then, and he just went to the bench. Neither of his coaches remember the fall; it did not hit their radars. I picked him up an hour later, as scheduled, and we all walked home. Nothing unusual. He had a drink, a snack and watched t.v. A full three hours after falling, he suddenly had a serious headache, then threw up. He threw up again 30 minutes later. I suspected food poisoning. Thank goodness, my husband’s first question when I told him was, “Was he hit on the ice at hockey camp today?”
I called the Telehealth Ontario nurse (thank you, Canada!!) and she recommended we take him to the emergency room.
Diagnosis: mild concussion.
Griffin has been fine since. No other signs of symptoms, though we are still watching out for them.
What is most frightening about concussion is that the symptoms are so delayed. I spoke to another mother whose son did not have symptoms until 24 hours after an accident, and because it was such a delayed response, the diagnosis of concussion was also delayed.
This has, of course, led to much hand-wringing on my part about exposing my son to harm, about questioning our choices for sport, about the culture of suck it up and keep playing. Detailing my angst about hockey culture, I think, will have to wait for another day, because it suddenly looms as an enormous topic, much too big to scale.
In the mean time, please take something from our brush with concussion. Put helmets on your skaters, bladers and bike-riders. When headache and nausea appear together, with or without a loss of consciousness, no matter how slight the bump to the head may have appeared, and no matter how long after the fall, take it as a serious possibility of concussion and call a medical professional.
My husband was not allowed to play hockey in high school for safety reasons, even though he adored the game, and he always wondered how his life might have been different.
Not to say his parents’ concerns weren’t valid. He’d already had several serious concussions and one hairline fracture from the full swing of a baseball bat to the head. So when he used to complain that he might have gone to college or had a different life, his parents used to say “Well, you’re alive, aren’t you?”
Before I was a Mom, I thought it was a flippant answer. Now that I’m a Mom, I know it’s not.
I’m so sorry about Griffin’s concussion and I am relieved to hear it is considered mild. My best to you guys.
What a frightening experience, Nathalie. Thank you for the reminder, as we have occasionally let the helmet slide when we are biking around our neighbourhood. It is amazing that such a minor fall injured Griffin that way.
I try to read your hockey posts with an open mind, because I’ve watched my nephew fall in love with it, because my son’s limited exposure at ball hockey has him wrestling with a stick in my kitchen for ages afterward, and because I know that you never know. But the truth is I just don’t want him to play (my husband isn’t into hockey either). Not being passionate about the sport (and neither is my husband), it’s hard to see the upsides… Look forward to your future thoughts on it.
Best wishes for Griffin’s recovery, and I hope you both will find new ways of enjoying your modified summer together.
Geez, Nathalie. Scary stuff! When we were leaving the hospital after Sam’s head “injury” the doctor pulled me aside and asked if I was opposed to him giving him a brief talk about the importance of helmets (even though we were there something entirely different). His message resonated with Sam but his warnings (and tales) have stuck with me. Helmets, helmets! Even though they are not 100% (as Griffin’s case reminds us) but it can drastically reduce injury.
I read this shortly after persuading my daughter that trying out ringette in the fall with her two best friends might be fun. Now I’m not so sure! That this happened with a helmet and without contact with another player is chilling. I’m glad he’s ok, but so sorry about the impact on his summer.
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