1. Patience is Key
It is extremely important that you are patient with your loved one suffering a prolonged concussion recovery. The reality is that no one knows how your loved one is feeling except for him or her. And there is no way of anticipating which symptoms will flare up, when they will flare up, and how long they will impact your child.
One disheartening frustration with concussions it that there is no medical way to measure how your child is healing. It is not like a broken bone where there is an expected recovery time and x-rays to complement monitoring. It is the invisible injury. Although every concussion is different, everyone undergoing a recovery needs a patient support group willing to stand by him or her no matter what.
2. Listen To and Trust Your Child
Your child will experience a range of emotions and symptoms while recovering from their concussion. While it seems impossible to understand as a parent, realize that your child may be experiencing these emotions and symptoms for the first time. It will be difficult for them to understand themselves and even harder for them to accurately express how they feel.
Communicate with your child. Let them speak freely and share their feelings with you even if you cannot empathize, you can sympathize. You also need to trust your child. Being the invisible injury, you’ll have to rely on discussion. And it is extremely important not to underplay what they’ve shared with you. That may discourage them from continuing to be open. By listening and allowing your child to share what they are experiencing will help them through difficult times.
3. Research Resources (Especially in School)
Resources are available to help your child and YOU deal with concussions, but you will need to research and seek out information in most situations. Schools, sports programs, work places, et. al are beginning to address concussions and many have protocols in place. Ask who you can work with at the school in order to help your child navigate the early stages of the concussion and meet requirements in the long run.
It is important that you, the school, your doctor, and your child are on the same page and do not force pushing the child back to a “normal” level too quickly. Pushing will only upset and frustrate the student and can even set back the recovery. Communication and trust are crucial. Things will work out if everyone works together with the health and well being of your child being the priority.
4. Take a Step Back and Don’t Pressure
For student-athletes, it can be particularly difficult to deal with multiple or prolonged concussion recoveries. They are used to being active and participating on a team daily. And now, they interact with their teammates but have to watch from the sidelines. This in itself causes a range of emotions that your child will need to work through. Add to that comments such as, “we could use you out there” or “when can you come back.” Your child will hear that from other parents, teammates, and coaches and feel the pressure to return or that they are letting their team down. It is very important that you communicate with coaches, trainers, and parents to ensure that everyone is on the same page and not putting that excess pressure on your child.
5. Expect Mood Volatility (and Don’t Take it Personally)
The experience of dealing with a concussion and range of emotions can be like a roller coaster ride full of ups and downs with everyone on board. And, just when you think the ride is coming to an end, it is possible that symptoms flare up and your ride continues. Changes in mood can be subtle or can be sudden and drastic.
Prolonged concussion recoveries are not only difficult for the concussed but also those closest to them. There may be times when you (as a parent) are concerned that you are not doing enough to help your child. And it is easy to feel like you may have said or done something to upset them when these drastic mood swings occur. Expect mood swings will happen and don’t take it personally. You have already taken a huge step in reviewing the content of this website. Remember, it comes down to communication, trust, and patience.
If you have any additional feedback on the topics above or others that you believe need to be discussed, please contact us.
DISCLAIMER: NO INFORMATION ON THIS SITE SHOULD BE PERCEIVED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR WITH ANY MEDICAL RELATED QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.