Last year, my son Drew, (who was ten at the time), suffered two concussions. One in hockey and one in soccer. The initial symptoms of the first one seemed much worse. He lost consciousness, spent a night in the hospital and suffered severe headaches. The second concussion, did not seem as bad, but the lingering affects have been much worse. He was only able to attend school for half days for nearly a month and his concentration level was very poor. The worst symptom by far, (for all of us), has been the emotional, angry outbursts.
Drew has always been our funny kid. He makes everyone laugh. He is a ball of energy and is non-stop from the minute he wakes up until he goes to bed. He never fails to bring out smiles in everyone he meets. Everyone wants to spend time with him.
Most people do not talk about having an “angry child”, but since the concussion, Drew’s days can go from calm, happy and fun to intense, fiery and out of control. He screams, runs, punches pillows and cries. I don’t often talk about it because I feel like people will not understand, or think that I can not handle my own child. I deal with 22 children everyday and I have complete control, yet I can not handle just one of my own! In school, these angry outbursts never occur, and this I am grateful for. He seems to reserve these tantrums for home. Of course I love him. I do so with all of my heart. This is the child who will still curl up on the couch with me for “snuggle time”. The child who could melt my heart with his smile but these rages can be set off by anything and we never know when one is coming! It could be homework frustrations, being told no, a change in routine….anything.
Dave and I have finally sought the help of a psychologist. We were told that post-concussion symptoms can last for awhile. We never expected it to be this long or this intense. I am worried about lasting psychological effects. I want my Drew back. We are lucky to have “regular” Drew most of the time, but then, the “concussion monster” rears his head and it all falls apart. The storm can last for hours but then, like a rainbow, it ends, almost as quickly as it began. I am hoping that the psychologist can help him through this and give him ways to manage his anger. He was not like this before and I am convinced it is a result of the concussions. I will never make him give up sports. We are more diligent with precautions. He wears soft head gear for soccer and we have not had him back in hockey. We will never be able to shelter him completely but the research I have done says that every concussion after the first, is worse. I hope we can find a solution and that we don’t have to deal with the symptoms much longer.
I do not want to write something that is going to cause him embarrassment or shame. That is not my plan at all but Spring soccer started today and I was speaking to a friend who had not seen us over the winter. She asked me how Drew was doing since the last concussion. She has a friends who’s daughter is having very similar symptoms and her mom is at a loss as well. This made me think that there must be others out there who are dealing with this. I want to find out what they are doing and how they are getting through it.