Watch for the symptoms

Chrissie Scott’s alarm bells rang when her 12-year-old son, Josh, said he was feeling a bit sick in the stomach.

As Josh had just come off the basketball court after falling down hard backwards and hitting his head on the timber flooring, working in child care and being first-aid trained, Chrissie knew this was one of the first signs of concussion,

“I had heard the thump and became worried,” Chrissie said.

“When his head hit the ground it actually bounced up, and I thought that’s not good,” Josh’s father, Clint, added.

The family jumped into the car and headed home to Lewiston, where Chrissie was going to drop Clint and her other two sons home before taking Josh to the hospital.

“We turned onto Dalkeith road and I told Clint to turn around and go straight to the hospital,” Chrissie explained.

“Josh couldn’t remember his brothers’ names, where he went to school, or where we lived.

“His pupils were dilated, he kept on leaning to his left side, the side he hit, and he tried to close his eyes to go to sleep but I wouldn’t let him.

“It was at this point I knew something was really seriously wrong.”

Josh was taken to emergency at Gawler Health Service where the nurses began observations straight away after being told exactly what had happened.

“There is a four-hour monitoring period with a concussion or any head injury, but the nurses said it was the worst one they had seen,” Chrissie said.

“He didn’t have any egg or bumps on his skull, so his brain actually took the impact.”

When the four-hour mark of monitoring was approaching, the doctor rang the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and told them Josh wasn’t responding the way they wanted.

“He still had dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and slow speech, and his blank stares were so unnerving,” Chrissie said. Clint went with Josh, who doesn’t remember getting into the ambulance, to WCH.

“I remember hitting my head and being in hospital, but nothing else,” Josh said.

“We arrived at WCH and were taken straight into a cubicle in emergency and he was checked hourly for general observations,” Clint said.

“They were checking his memory and from the 3am check onwards, he answered all the questions correctly.

“His memory started to return but he was still very slow, but progressively through the morning he got quicker and his recall improved.”

Josh was allowed to return home that morning and for the next 48 hours, had to completely rest his brain.

“There was no screen time allowed, no phones, TV or tablet, nothing that stimulates the brain,” Chrissie said.

“He slept most of the following day on Tuesday and had an early school holiday, although he did attend school on the last Friday of term as he was back to his old form.”

“The worst part was we did PE that day and played dodge ball, but I couldn’t play,” Josh said regrettably.

“The doctor said he was not too worried about Josh going back to basketball, as they didn’t view basketball as being a high-risk sport,” Chrissie said. Centrals District’s Premier League head coach, Ricky Simpson, also the head coach of Northern Region Sports Academy, said he hadn’t seen many concussions in his playing and coaching of basketball in 45 years.

“Various contact sports like American football, Aussie rules and rugby have more concussions, as one would expect,” he said.

“At the amateur sports level there definitely needs to be more education on concussions in sports.

“Professional sports have this covered but amateur sports don’t have the medical resources to give attention to injuries.

“I’m sure there are many more cases of concussions in every sport at the amateur level that aren’t identified because few understand the symptoms and mistake it for another illness.

“It’s easy for concussions to be misdiagnosed if symptoms occur later on and not right after the incident.”

Josh was lucky his mother Chrissie was first aid trained, aware of the signs of concussion, and knew to take him to hospital.

However, due to a lack of awareness of the injury, not many families would know what to look out for.

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