OT but not really: a real time personal anecdote about concussion

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betterthanthealternative

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My wife was hit last week in her car, at about a 45 degree angle, across the passenger side. Not a jarring hit - none of the airbags deployed, and she didn't hit her head on anything.

Still, she sustained a mild concussion. Her thinking has been impaired since then. We are watching her slowly recover, and she's clearly regained most or all of her logical and analytical ability. But here we are a week later, and she still can't multi-task, can't handle crowded environments or the slightest loud noise, requires lots of extra rest, and is easily frustrated and irritated. She's normally a very high functioning person, and is CEO of a $MM multistate nonprofit, so the before-and-after distinctions are very clear. In time, she'll be ok, albeit more susceptible going forward.

This is her third. First was at age 20 in a horrific car accident where she was thrown 100 feet out of a flipping car. Second was about 5 years ago in a slip and fall, where she was knocked out cold.

This one only required a sudden stop, with no direct impact and only a little bit of whiplash (she had only the mildest of muscle soreness, and she's in her 50's).

It certainly gives me pause when I think about sports injuries. The one five years ago was a violent, direct impact. This one was far from it.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

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My wife was hit last week in her car, at about a 45 degree angle, across the passenger side. Not a jarring hit - none of the airbags deployed, and she didn't hit her head on anything.

Still, she sustained a mild concussion. Her thinking has been impaired since then. We are watching her slowly recover, and she's clearly regained most or all of her logical and analytical ability. But here we are a week later, and she still can't multi-task, can't handle crowded environments or the slightest loud noise, requires lots of extra rest, and is easily frustrated and irritated. She's normally a very high functioning person, and is CEO of a $MM multistate nonprofit, so the before-and-after distinctions are very clear. In time, she'll be ok, albeit more susceptible going forward.

This is her third. First was at age 20 in a horrific car accident where she was thrown 100 feet out of a flipping car. Second was about 5 years ago in a slip and fall, where she was knocked out cold.

This one only required a sudden stop, with no direct impact and only a little bit of whiplash (she had only the mildest of muscle soreness, and she's in her 50's).

It certainly gives me pause when I think about sports injuries. The one five years ago was a violent, direct impact. This one was far from it.

I'm sorry to hear about another head injury for your wife and wish her the very best in her recovery.

Some (smart) friends had set me straight about concussions over poker a couple of years ago and brought up that the brain is essentially separated from the skull by a thin liquid layer, which prevents it from hitting against the skull most of the time. So this type of sudden whiplash causes the brain to smash into the skull itself, causing injury. Hence, regardless of the helmet cushions and advanced technology, a lot of concussions happen without direct head impact but just by virtue of very sudden stopping and sudden impact to other parts of body. The hard skull that protects you also causes the impact damage to your brain. Really scary stuff.
 

Tunescribe

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My wife was hit last week in her car, at about a 45 degree angle, across the passenger side. Not a jarring hit - none of the airbags deployed, and she didn't hit her head on anything.

Still, she sustained a mild concussion. Her thinking has been impaired since then. We are watching her slowly recover, and she's clearly regained most or all of her logical and analytical ability. But here we are a week later, and she still can't multi-task, can't handle crowded environments or the slightest loud noise, requires lots of extra rest, and is easily frustrated and irritated. She's normally a very high functioning person, and is CEO of a $MM multistate nonprofit, so the before-and-after distinctions are very clear. In time, she'll be ok, albeit more susceptible going forward.

This is her third. First was at age 20 in a horrific car accident where she was thrown 100 feet out of a flipping car. Second was about 5 years ago in a slip and fall, where she was knocked out cold.

This one only required a sudden stop, with no direct impact and only a little bit of whiplash (she had only the mildest of muscle soreness, and she's in her 50's).

It certainly gives me pause when I think about sports injuries. The one five years ago was a violent, direct impact. This one was far from it.
Assuming she has had a thorough neuro workup, what do the doctors say?
 

Gwedd

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Damn. Best wishes to her (and you) for a solid and complete recovery.
 

betterthanthealternative

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Assuming she has had a thorough neuro workup, what do the doctors say?

Oh yeah, thanks. CT scan, which is good. I was there for the standard protocol testing, and she did very well on most of it. So prognosis is for full recovery. But it is scary when your brain won't work well, and she has down moments.

There is a physical therapy process for concussions, which she'll start soon.

I'm getting some pushback to my insistence that she now wear this at all times. Stubborn. Going to keep trying.

 

betterthanthealternative

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Hence, regardless of the helmet cushions and advanced technology, a lot of concussions happen without direct head impact but just by virtue of very sudden stopping and sudden impact to other parts of body. The hard skull that protects you also causes the impact damage to your brain. Really scary stuff.

Yup. All the fast movement of modern life wasn't accounted for in a few thousand years of evolution.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

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Oh yeah, thanks. CT scan, which is good. I was there for the standard protocol testing, and she did very well on most of it. So prognosis is for full recovery. But it is scary when your brain won't work well, and she has down moments.

There is a physical therapy process for concussions, which she'll start soon.

I'm getting some pushback to my insistence that she now wear this at all times. Stubborn. Going to keep trying.


 

Elijah

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I'm sorry to hear about another head injury for your wife and wish her the very best in her recovery.

Some (smart) friends had set me straight about concussions over poker a couple of years ago and brought up that the brain is essentially separated from the skull by a thin liquid layer, which prevents it from hitting against the skull most of the time. So this type of sudden whiplash causes the brain to smash into the skull itself, causing injury. Hence, regardless of the helmet cushions and advanced technology, a lot of concussions happen without direct head impact but just by virtue of very sudden stopping and sudden impact to other parts of body. The hard skull that protects you also causes the impact damage to your brain. Really scary stuff.

Yeah, this is the most concerning part. I don't think there's a helmet or rule change in the world that can prevent this from happening when one's head is jerked around.
 
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