My daughter is playing softball this season. As I turned the corner to arrive at the field, I saw my daughter walking with a coach. She was holding an instant ice pack on her throat. They saw me and walked over to the car. The coach explained that a softball bounced off her glove and into her neck. My daughter told me her neck hurt, it was hard to swallow and difficult to talk. The impact of the softball made it difficult for her to breath for 30 seconds.
We packed up her gear and drove away. Instead of heading home, I drove in the direction of her doctor's office. I called the doctor and a nurse answered. She told us to come to the office right away. The doctor checked her neck and throat. Her neck did not appear swollen. My daughter complained of a headache. The doctor tested her neurological symptoms and determined she had a concussion. Her head aches, eyes hurt and noise/light sensitivity. The doctor made arrangements for an X-ray of her vertebrae at the hospital as a precaution.
I sat in the office trying to stay calm. I was doing fine until I heard about the X-ray for possible fractures to the spine. The doctor handed me the referral and we were on our way to the hospital. Two hours later, we left the hospital knowing the X-ray was negative for fractures. My daughter has a follow-up appointment this week. She is restricted from physical activity (sports and gym) until cleared by the doctor.
During the exam, the doctor discussed children athletes and injuries. His first question before he examined my daughter..."Did you continue playing after the injury?". The doctor explained that he sees many patients with sports injurys. The kids get hit and keep playing despite a headache or other symptoms. The kids who keep playing have a longer recovery time from a concussion than those who stop playing.
No one should return to play or vigorous activity while signs or symptoms of a concussion are present. Experts recommend that an athlete with a suspected concussion not return to play until he or she has been medically evaluated. Experts also recommend that child and adolescent athletes with a concussion not return to play on the same day as the injury.