My Dad was a Purple Heart decorated army combat veteran of WWII. He never spoke of the war or his friend he kept in touch with who was the only other survivor of his company. The only evidence of his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was whenever any of us in the household of three women raised their voice in conflict, he retreated to the back porch where he might stay for hours, long after the issue was over. I didn’t know about PTSD back then, but we speculated that his behavior was related to his experiences in the war.
Last month we talked about how to recognize the signs and symptoms of concussion, now called mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mild TBI) by medical professionals. There’s actually not much mild about it. It’s only mild compared to more serious head injuries. Children and teens are especially at risk. When any trauma happens to a developing brain, regardless of the classification, there may be serious short-term and/or long term effects. Awareness of prevention strategies is key to safe-guarding your brain, because it’s the only brain you get.
Do you know the signs of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury?
“I was on the top of the pyramid one minute and the next, I was on the gym floor with people standing around me asking if I was ok. My Mom took me to the Emergency Room.
While I was there another girl on the squad arrived with an injury as well. I used to do well in school, but now I can’t keep up with the work and all the bright lights give me a headache. It’s hard to focus. I feel more clumsy than I used to, in fact I fell in my driveway and hit my head again, which I’m sure didn’t help!”
This was the story of one teen who came to our office seeking help for attention, focus, and anxiety following a head injury. Unfortunately she is not alone in her experience. Read on to learn what are the riskiest sports, signs and symptoms of TBI, and how to protect your child.
“Your boss wants to see you now!” “Your appointment is downtown in 15 minutes and 395 is backed up.” “Seventy percent of your grade is based on the test tomorrow.” “We’d like you to give a talk to the group.” “And oh, by the way, it’s due tomorrow.” “We’ll hear your testimony now.” “Your test results are back.” “What’s for dinner?”
There has been a lot of discussion in the media this past month regarding the world of football since PBS aired its investigative documentary “A League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis.” http://to.pbs.org/1c8cP3W. A similar investigative report was on Frontline in 2011 called “Football High” that dealt with football injuries in teens.
A single mother brought her bright, music-loving eight-year-old son, Brian, to my office because the behaviors stemming from his ADHD had become intolerable. He was confrontational and aggressive. He had been threatened with suspension from school for his anger and for hitting other students, but he continued.
His mother hoped that neurofeedback would help provide a positive change in his behavior. At Brian’s first visit, he was so hyperactive, he could barely sit still long enough to put the sensors on but, after a only few minutes of training, he began to calm down.