Final Concussion Update

We made what I hope is our final visit to the concussion doctor this morning. Over the last two weeks my Gymnast has been much better. She is able to do her schoolwork, her memory is better and she is happy.

The doctor has declared that she has made a full recovery and she is released to get back to gymnastics. She is so excited and can’t wait to flip again. She’s missed two meets and there is another next weekend that she will likely miss. There’s only one left, she would like to be able to compete at the State Meet at the end of May.

I asked him what this concussion meant for the long term. He said that he feels that she has completely recovered. He doesn’t think we should see long term effects but there is no way to know for sure. If she should suffer another concussion he would evaluate that one and we would go from there. But the goal is to not have another concussion. He says for her to be a little less of a risk taker.

I am so thankful to everyone that prayed for her healing and her safety. I praise the Lord that she recovered and that he kept her safe from a second impact while she was healing.

 

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Concussion Update #2

We saw the Concussion Doctor about 10 days ago. She was asked a series of questions about her physical symptoms. She had to rate them on a 1 to 6 scale, 6 being the worst ever. The nurse asked her about headaches, dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to noise, irritability, easily frustrated, ability to fall asleep at night and a few others. The first time we saw the doctor she answered 4 to 6 on nearly all of those questions. This time she was able to answer 1 to 3 on all of them. She hadn’t had a headache for 2 weeks but noises were still bothering her and she was still having a little more trouble than usual to do schoolwork, however she wasn’t really irritable or easily frustrated. She was also back to her regular sleeping habits, instead of falling asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow she was back to taking an hour or more to fall asleep.

After the nurse’s questions, the doctor came in and gave her a neurological exam. He made her follow his finger with her eyes, gave her things to remember, and asked her to say the days of the week starting with Tuesday, and what day of the week today was. She did much better this time. She really couldn’t answer any of his questions the first time we went other than it was Friday. He was happy with her improvement and released her to start increasing her activity level.

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She has spent a lot of time with her rabbit lately.

 

We were given an exercise progression that started with brisk walking and ended with a 100% cardiac workout. It was a 3 step process and if she got a headache after any of the workouts she was to rest for 24 hours and return to the previous step. We were to call 7 days later with her results. She started by just walking a few laps around the backyard and then jogging and then running 10 laps around the park. She was able to progress through without any physical symptoms. When I called in they asked how she had progressed through the regiment. I said she did great, no symptoms. Then she asked how her memory was. Hmm. I had forgotten about that little symptom. In fact, a few hours before I talked to the nurse she couldn’t remember something. Her brother wanted to play Connect 4. She had no recollection of what it was even after we tried to explain it to her. She is also still having a bit of trouble with her math assignments. She isn’t understanding them as easily as she was a few months ago. So the nurse would relay this to the doctor and call me back.

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She made a desert diorama today to go along with our study of the desert.

Based on her troubled memory the doctor wants her to sit out for another 2 weeks and see us back in the office then. She is allowed to have full physical activity but she still can’t go back to the gym. We’ve been trying to get back to a full school schedule since last week and we still can’t get there. She seems more frustrated with her work than she used to be. It’s a little reminiscent of the pre-LearningRx Gymnast. She’s isn’t as interested in learning as she was past LearningRx and pre-concussion. So we will give it more time to heal and continue to pray that the Lord restores all and that there is no permanent cognitive function loss. It’s quite bizarre seeing this child on her feet as much as she has been. Ordinarily I find her on her hands and flipping upside down constantly.

Update on the Gymnast and her Concussion

 

It’s been as hard as I expected to keep the Gymnast’s brain at rest. The first couple of days I would tell her to rest. Then five minutes later I would find her doing something that wasn’t restful. I’d find her walking around the back yard, chasing the bunny around her pin, texting on her iPod, or cleaning her room. After 3 days of telling her, “that’s not restful” and her telling me, “but I thought it would be okay,” I realized I had to be very specific. She got remanded to her bedroom. She was given orders to lay in her bed for 20 minutes and then she was allowed to play something quietly for 20 minutes. She did great for a couple of days of this. She stopped complaining of headaches, wasn’t dizzy and wasn’t irritable at the end of the day. But then the weather got warm and pretty outside and this little one lives for the outdoors. Everyone was spending all day outside.

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I left at the end of last week to attend my brother’s wedding. We were going to make the trip as a family but the Gymast wasn’t up to traveling so I went alone. And that meant leaving Daddy in charge of her rest. I was told that only one day she looked pale, a precursor to a headache. So I came home determined to make her rest this week. Only to find her outside playing with everyone.

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She’s had some headaches this week due to the activity that she keeps doing. She considers it restful because she isn’t running or jumping or climbing. But it’s not restful enough.

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She is so very frustrated and having a hard time just being still. She doesn’t like being alone or missing out on all the fun everyone is having. She’s ready to get back to everyday activity and isn’t enjoying the break from school work. She will be missing another meet this weekend and is hoping to be able to compete at state in May.

Thank you so much to all who have prayed for her. Please continue to pray for her the Lord to help her rest and to heal her quickly.

Adventures in Concussions

Our Little Gymnast flew off our trampoline 2 weeks ago and suffered a concussion. It has taken me two weeks to ask the right questions in order to get the full story from the girls. She was doing a back flip landed on her bottom on the trampoline and then flew off backward. She landed on her back and then her head hit the ground. However, I didn’t think she was hurt at all at the time. Her sister and her were outside jumping while I was cooking dinner. This is something the do all day long. Little Bit comes running in telling me her sister fell off the trampoline. Her sister was right behind her and then laid on my kitchen bench. I asked what had happened and how she felt. She was doing a back flip, something she’s done 1,000 times on our tramp and really the only way she jumps. It was about like this. The details of exactly what happened didn’t become clear to me until the last day or two. She said nothing really hurt, she didn’t feel dizzy or nauseous and she wasn’t crying. I instructed her to lay down for a bit. I didn’t hear another complaint about it until 8 days later.

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So she returned to normal activity the very next day. And three days later she returned to gymnastics practice and again the following week. After her second practice she told me she was dizzy and nauseous. I thought maybe she was dehydrated or hadn’t eaten enough that day, I didn’t think it could be related to the fall since it had been a week. But the next day she couldn’t move off the sofa she felt so bad. I made an appointment for her at our doctor’s office the next day.

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The doctor didn’t think it was related to the fall since she didn’t pass out and didn’t throw up. He said it was a virus and it was causing the labrynthitis. She’d be better in a few days. She was already felling better on Thurs. than the day before when she didn’t leave my couch. So I made her rest a bit that weekend to help her fight the virus. On Monday she was back on the trampoline and getting dizzy again. Tuesday she wanted to try to practice, she made through her running and two back walkovers and then was very dizzy. We left the gym and she returned to the couch the next day unable to get rid of the dizzy feeling. I called our gymnastics team trainer to have him look at her figuring now that this had to be from the fall. And when he started asking us questions I realized I didn’t know what exactly had happened and I didn’t know what symptoms to look for to assess whether she was okay. According to our trainer very few people experience vomiting from a concussion and everyone experiences it differently. He also told us that a concussion won’t show on CT scan or MRI. You have to assess the symptoms and do a neurological evaluation. We were referred to see the head of our local Childrens Sports Medicine Concussion team.

So what symptoms had I missed. You might need to know this. Well upon asking the girls more questions the Little Gymnast appears to have blacked out. Little Bit said that her eyes were closed for about 10 seconds or less. Little Bit was calling to her asking if she was okay but she couldn’t respond. The details of what happened after the fall are also foggy to the Gymnast. She thinks her Dad was home when it happened, he wasn’t and she doesn’t remember laying on the bench in the kitchen. The next morning she was extremely grouchy and I punished her for 2 weeks from playing with friends. Something I haven’t ever had to do. The morning irritability lasted for about a week. Any morning that Little Bit made too much noise exiting the room the Gymnast would yell at her about waking her. This is very uncharacteristic as she is usually bright eyed and ready to go in the morning. The Gymnast failed to tell me she was dizzy and nauseous after that first gymnastics practice she did.

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As you can see, the girls live on the tramp. If they are outside they are on it. If she isn’t on the tramp you can find her scaling play structures, trying to climb trees or running around on all fours like a horse. She’s not the sit still and smell the roses type. She wants to roll in them and run amongst them.

The Pediatric Concussion Specialist asked as about her symptoms and about the fall, did a balance test with her and a neurologic assessment. He concurred with our trainer that she indeed has a concussion and will take longer to heal since she’s been active over the last 16 days. So how does one heal. By using as little brain energy as possible. She is to have no physical activity, no school work and avoid as much mental activity as possible. She may only have 20 minutes of activity at a time. She is allowed screen time for 20 minutes only, she can color, paint, craft, listen to stories and play quietly imaginative things. No board games, no reading, and no card games. And she has to rest after the 20 minutes of activity before doing another 20 minutes. This is extremely hard, she’s 9 and she’s hyperactive. She has an insatiable need to move, jump, flip and run. It’s becoming a full time job keeping her down. The goal is for her brain to fully heal without permanent damage that could further impair her schooling or worse. We see the doctor in 3 weeks to assess where we are. Physical symptoms go away first but neurologic symptoms persist for longer. She will have to be cleared on both before returning to any physical or mental activity.

Please pray that she recovers quickly with no permanent damage. And that God would bestow His full grace on her to help her be still to heal.

I’m grateful for the team of caring professionals that are helping us navigate this. If you’d like to know more about concussions there are some excellent videos here.

Our Gymnast’s First Meet

Gymnast competed in her first meet this past weekend. The meet was located in Mobile at Planet Gymnastics, owned by former Olympic champion Vladimir Novikov. She is competing Level 4 with the USGA. Some of her coaches wanted her to start with Level 3. She came home crying that Level 3 was baby stuff and she wanted to do Level 4. There is quite a jump in skill and length of routine from Level 3 to Level 4. She said that she would work hard to learn her routines. I told here that she might miss a meet or two trying to learn the routines. Well her teammates were ready in Sept. so she missed one meet. But she worked hard the last 4 weeks to learn her routines. She was competing in the 6-7 year old division. She was the youngest, with only one other 6 year old competing. The others were 7, some close to 8 even. She did great at the meet. Wes and I were both choked up and tried hard not to cry. She acted so grown up. She wasn’t nervous at all. On the way to the meet she was talkative. Which is uncharacteristic. Gymnast and I can get in the car and drive for 30 minutes and she only asks one question. She told me that it was going to be like an exhibition where all the Moms and Dads sit in the gym and watch. I told her she was right. So for her there was no pressure. Here’s a video of her doing her routines (it’s about 5 minutes long). (This is my first time downloading a video to my computer and uploading it here. It’s not the best quality. I’ll have to work out the bugs.)

Her team is the third team to march in and line up. They are Flip City and are dressed in blue and black leotards.

She remembered her routines and didn’t have to stop and think about what comes next. She did balance beam first and did great. She hardly wobbled. She missed her dismount but got right back up and did it correctly. Next her team went to the floor. You may remember that in May she was doing a roundoff backhandspring and making it look easy. In fact about a month later she could do 2-3 backhandsprings after her roundoff. Well about July she all of a sudden forgot how to do it. Every now and again in the gym she’ll finally get it worked out. But all summer she has been fighting the fear to just do it again. On the floor she pauses between her roundoff and backhandspring. It led to some deduction but we were thrilled that she went for the backhandspring. I’m sure in 3 weeks by the next meet she will have it worked out. Next up was vault. She has struggled a little with her vault. She just hardly weighs enough to get a good rebound off the springboard. But she pulled it off great. Next was the bars. This has been the area she struggles the most. Her hands are tiny and she doesn’t quite have enough strength. She does a beautiful mount and dismount but struggles with the skills in the middle. She scored lowest on her bars. I am pleased to report that when we were in the gym yesterday she finally got one of her bar skills, her front hip circle. That will give her a better score at the next meet.

So what were the results. There were 7 gymnasts competing in her division. She scored 7th overall. She placed 6th on vault, bean and floor. They gave medals for each event for 1st – 5th place and gave overall medals for 1st – 7th place. So she came home with one medal. She was thrilled. We told her that she may not get any medals since this was her first meet. She thought she could come home with a few. But getting just the one was wonderful for her. Here’s a picture of her in her team leotard with her medal. She is very proud to be wearing that leotard.

Our Gymnast

The Gymnast has been taking gymnastics for about 2 1/2 years now. She loves it. She doesn’t walk around my house. She cartwheels and flips all the time. She is often found upside down in various positions. This year she learned how to do a round-off, backhandspring. I took this video with my regular digital camera so please forgive the shakes and the fuzz. But at least you get the idea.

She was going for two back handsprings. That’s why I said not quite. She has done before but just didn’t have the confidence Thursday.

She got to go shopping with her MeMe to the Dance Shop to pick out that special leotard. She wanted one that looked like our country flag. It sparkles and everything.

She badly wants to be a “team girl” and compete. I think she is going to love watching the olympics this summer. It was the last olympics when we were watching the girls on the bars and she said, “I want to do that.” She was barely 2. She’s on her way!!