I recently heard a statistic that an estimated 1 in 10 high school athletes will sustain a sports concussion during the season. Well, this past year, we became 1 of the 10.
My daughter Sophia, a strong rugby player with a high threshold for pain, was diagnosed with a concussion after playing in her team’s state championship game. She took a few hard hits, but nothing that seemed unusual. Sophia did have a headache that evening, and at school the next day it was suggested that she get a concussion evaluation. The test results indicated a concussion, which was a surprise.
For Sophia, a good student and not one to sit quietly at home, the recommendation to rest and miss school was especially difficult. It was supposed to help with her healing, but it actually created added stress.
We were told that most kids with a concussion recover completely and can return to sports. Kevin Walter, MD, and his concussion team at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin truly acted as advocates for our daughter. They understood her desire as a young athlete to get back out on the field. Unfortunately, that was not the case for Sophia, as she was not cleared to return to contact sports. We worried that this would be the biggest challenge yet — but the concussion team helped us all through this decision. In the end, Sophia found other ways to become fulfilled, stay involved in athletics, and still have fun.
As parents, the thing we want most for our children is for them to be as happy as possible. If sports make your child happy and give him or her a sense of team — being part of a family of friends — and support, the great life skills you get are worth the risk. But it is important to know what those risks are and be prepared.
My advice to other sports moms is to take advantage of all the injury prevention resources that are out there. Look for programs in your area that provide education on injury prevention and know what to do when an injury occurs. Talk with your school and coaches to see what injury prevention training they can offer.
Attend programs such as the Mom’s Concussion Clinic on Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Waukesha West High School campus offered by Kohl’s Cares Grow Safe & Healthy and the Sports Medicine Program at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Register online to attend this event.
As moms, we all want and need to be better prepared for all life brings.