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Concussion Tips For Parents

Ahead of the Game book cover

  • Any signs or symptoms may signal concussion.
  • Signs and symptoms may occur days after impact.
  • An athlete doesn't need to hit his head to suffer a concussion.
  • Helmets and mouth guards do not prevent concussions.
  • Neuroimaging (CT/MRI) studies are usually normal with concussion.
  • Youth athletes require more cautious, conservative care.
  • A second hit before healing from the first can cause rare Second Impact Syndrome.
  • Immediate rest (both physical and cognitive) helps reduce recovery time.
  • Practice Brain Hygiene (baseline neuropsychological testing).
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Long term consequences from concussions in youth sports

I played defensive tackle for the SF 49ers in 80 and 81. During the 81 Super Bowl season I developed hydrocephalus (water on the brain) from repeated concussions during my 12 years of organized football and underwent emergency VP Shunt brain surgery. My "diagnosed" concussion career began at age 13 during my 3rd year of Pop Warner when I knocked myself unconscious in a tackling drill and was hospitalized. I went onto to play for the undefeated and nationally ranked Amos Alonzo Stagg High in Stockton, CA in 1975, and attended the University of Colorado on a football scholarship in 1976.
While at Colorado, I majored in Fisheries Biology, played in the 1977 Orange Bowl, and was a 3 year starter at DT. The NY Jets selected me as a 6th round pick of the 1980 NFL draft and I played the 1980 and 81 seasons with the SF 49ers. The 49ers picked me up before the 5th game of the 80 season, a few days prior to the first Dallas game. After two days of practice I was put in the game early in the first quarter and suffered a major concussion on my first play. The trainers and doctors laughingly told me later that week (when my memory returned), that I went through over 20 smelling salts during the game to keep me on the field. They would hand me a handful each time I came out, pop a couple to clear the cobwebs, and I would go back in.
Early in the following 81 season I underwent knee surgery, and soon after developed hydrocephalus and underwent the first, of what are to date, 9 emergency VP shunt brain surgeries. I also developed gran mal seizures. When my shunt fails, I go into a coma and will die w/in a day or so unless operated on.
Four months after we won Super Bowl XVI, and one day after being examined by my neurosurgeon the 49ers sent me to, my shunt failed while fishing in Mexico, I was brought home in a coma, had two more brain surgeries 10 hours apart and was given last rites. I was also given the hospital bills. I was 23 years old. This began a nearly 5 year battle with the 49ers to sue for Workers Comp in order to get my hospital bills paid. I finally won my case in 1986. During the battle, I had two additional knee surgeries repairing what the 49ers team doctor never repaired. I had actually torn 80% of my ACL from the femur, but the doctors decided to just remove ALL my cartiledge and not repair the torn ligament. My final knee surgery in 84, during my Work Comp battle involved an experimental GoreTex ACL transplant which they don't do anymore.
I have been asked many times over the years how many concussions I suffered. I used to count the ones I was unconscious on or couldn't remember games from (~6). They now classify a concussion as hitting hard enough to see stars. I had 1,000s over the years.
It is the responsibility of all parents and coaches of young players to ensure they are coached properly, and to watch for the dangers of head injuries. TBI affects the entire family. I know. It's still impacting mine.
Visger Rules – Recommended changes to NFL Rules 071810
NPR: A Brain, A Life, Battered by Football
Video interview Stockton Record
George Visger
SF 49ers 80 & 81
Survivor of 9 NFL Caused Emergency VP Shunt Brain Surgeries
Benefactor of ZERO NFL Benefits
Wildlife Biologist/TBI Consultant
The Visger Group

keep sharing

Thank you for your comment. I believe if more professional players came out and talked about their experiences with concussions, kids would be more abt to confess to being injured on the field. Kids are still considered sissy's if they pull themselves out of a game or practice. My sophomore HS football player suffered 2 back to back blows in a practice Oct.5, 2011. He wasn't removed by the coaches or himself. He had 2 severe concussions from that 1 practice. He was confined to a dark room for 3 months as any stimulation shut his brain down. He had confussion, dizziness, short term memory loss, fuzzy peripheral vision and excurciating headaches. He spent 3 mo as an outpatient in a rehab hospital. He missed 20 straight weeks of school and when he did go back he had only 4 classes...couldn't tolerate more. 9 months later he is much better, football career is over. He still suffer's headaches from moderate to severe and some memory issues

Post concussion symptoms

So sorry to hear about your son. He shows all the classic symptoms of post concussion syndrome. I am glad you had the presence of mind to step forward, as most coaches at that level are not well educated regarding TBI. The Visger Group is on a mission to change all that before more families are forced to endure what your's and mine have gone through.
Below is a link to my last concussion while a 49er during a 1980 Cowboys game. They never took me out of the game, and told me later in the week I went through 20 - 25 smelling salts during the game to keep me on the field.
KRON4 News in San ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZpnI6W2-Sg - 114k - Cached - Similar pages
Apr 18, 2012 ... George Visger, author of the ebook "OUT OF MY HEAD: My Life In and Out of Football" (January 2012), was featured in this report on KRON4 ...
Concussions are no joking matter.
Look into hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) and get your son on heavy doses of industrial grade purified Omega 3 fish oils. Oily fish store toxins such as heavy metals in their fats so make sure the label says industrial grade purified. I take 18 gm/day and on my 167th HBOT treatment. My micro cog memory tests have improved over 15% since I started my treatments 2 yrs ago.
George Visger                                                                                           SF 49ers 80 & 81 
Survivor of 9 NFL Caused Emergency VP Shunt Brain Surgeries
Benefactor of ZERO NFL Benefits

Managing recovery time

Thank you for your comments and I will share them with my son. It will do him good to hear others story. We are very new to the world of concussions. He received a concussion at football practice three and half weeks ago, was initially out of school on cognitive and physical rest, went back to school, and had to be taken out of school again due to his symptoms becoming too overwhelming. His symptoms are about 75 percent where they were initially so we do have improvement. However his doctor wants him to continue to do nothing. Absolutely nothing but lay around or sit. This seems a bit unrealistic for an able bodied 12 year old. We certainly want to do what it takes to get back to his prior functioning but this has become almost unbearable and I can see it leading to depression. There seems to be a great deal of information out there now on symptoms etc. but how does one cope with day today living?

Wrestling-body slam head injury

My 12 year old got involved with the school wrestling team. Last night there was a tournament in which his second round the other boy was a head taller than my son. Well the other boy picked him up to his shoulder height and slammed him on the matt. When I saw my son stagger over to the other coach to shake his hand and then wabble to the wall and grab his head, my heart SUNK to the floor. I am so angry at the mentality of these bully coaches that tell children to "suck it up". You DON'T, "suck it up" when it comes to brain trauma. I am furious because what I have read about wrestling regulation is that should have been called. The other boy should have been penalized for that full body slam. The coach says he did not see it. I hold him fully RESPONSIBLE for setting my son up for failure. I am so furious right now. Because the expectation is for him to suck it up and not to be a whimp. Everyone around could see it was an unfair match and the ref was not trained to CALL it. Last night the headache was immediate after the slam. It was a 9/10. I did give him tylenol. I did not give him anything to potentially enhance a brain bleed. This morning it is a 5/10. I am keeping him home today. There is neck pain on palpation, but no numbness or tingling to the extremities. No vomiting. I think it is mild by most standards. These kids WANT to partake in these kids of sports because their friends do. I have a BIG problem with the fact that these coaches get us to sign waivers and then go against regulations and think they have NO RESPONSIBILITY in these types of injuries. Then they tell these kids to "suck it up" or they will be called WHIMPS. My son is FAR from being a whimp. I will NEVER throw him to the wolves like that. I am furious.

I am not a doctor but ...

I am sorry to hear about your son's injury, Janice, and I understand why you are furious at the coach, too many of whom don't take concussions seriously.  While you are doing the right thing in keeping him home from school, I strongly encourage you to take him to see your primary care physician as soon as possible to be evaluated for the concussion he clearly suffered.  There is really no such thing as a mild concussion: it is a traumatic brain injury, and needed to be treated seriously.  It is too early to say how long-lasting the symptoms will be. Hopefully, your son's symptoms will clear up, as most do, within a week, but to maximize the chances that the recovery will be quick, I urge you to make sure your son, while home, gets the physical and cognitive rest his brain needs to heal. Not bed rest, but no exercise, no running errands with you, no texting, no video games, very limited television, no reading. He should stay home for at least several days until his headaches and other symptoms go away, and then eased back into school with academic accommodations if his thinking and memory are still impaired. Good luck.  

Lindsay Barton

Senior Editor


post concussion recovery

Dear MomsTEAM,
It's vitally important for you all to know that there is reason for hope in the form of a new leading edge, high tech, individually tailored, holistic neurotechnology called Brainwave Optimization with RTB (real time balancing). It's scientific/technological name is HIRREM (High resolution, Relational, Resonance-based Electroencephalic Mirroring). Basically, the process is as if you're holding a highly polished electronic mirror up to the brain auditorily, and allowing the brain's inherent wisdom to auto calibrate. The brain balances and creates symmetry within its' own energies. It's lightyears ahead of traditional neurofeedback, and has been highly effective for clients suffering from TBI. These kids and athletes are getting their lives back! Wonderfully relaxing and easy to do. Brain State Technologies is the provider of Brainwave Optimization and they have licensed affiliates all over the world. www.brainstatetech.com
Results from several clinical studies done at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Charles Tegeler, M.D., neurologist and facilitator, are promising.
Here at The Evolutionary Brain, www.theevolutionarybrain.com, licensed affiliate of Brain State Technologies, outside of Philadelphia, PA, we've provided Brainwave Optimization for many young athletes struggling with post concussion symptoms and their responses have been hugely positive. Pro-athletes such as Seth Joyner of the Philadelphia Eagles, Geoff Courtnall of the Vancouver Canucks, and Kurt Sauer of the Phoenix Coyotes have used this process, sometimes years after the initial injury/concussion, with solidly good results.
Please look into Brainwave Optimization! It can change a life for the better.
Kris Pitcairn
"Optimizing Brain Function"
The Evolutionary Brain
Huntingdon Valley, PA

is it a concussion?

My daughter came home from soccer practice one day and was feeling a little funny. She said she had done some “headers” in practice and had a headache. Could that have been a concussion, and how do you tell if it is?”