Concussion Day 35 – Parent’s Perspective, Child’s JourneyWritten By: Debbie Freeman
The day had finally arrived; field conditioning with Dr. Burns. I have to be honest, I tried to cancel the appointment. It was a really hot day, my daughter was “concussed” and I was worried. I had been working hard for the last month to keep her “down” and the thought of a hard work-out was unsettling to say the least. Dr. Burns asked if she was having any symptoms. My daughter might not have been showing symptoms, but I sure was; hesitation, apprehension, and just plain fear. He then assured me that it was time to get her on the field. What was I supposed to say, “I’m scared?!” Luckily my daughter wasn’t having any of these feelings, her cleats were on and she was ready to go.
When we arrived at the field, Dr. Burns was with another patient that was also in concussion recovery. This wasn’t just another soccer kid, but a semi-pro athlete. It was a reminder that concussions are not exclusive, they can happen to anyone. I watched with curiosity as Dr. Burns was playing a soccer specific brain game with this patient. Do you know your alphabet, do you know your colors and can you trap a soccer ball? All basic tasks individually, but when layered into one game, they provide a mental and physical challenge that can apparently test the most competent player. I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched this “easy” game humble this man I continued to watch with intrigue though as Dr. Burns continued to encourage his patient and the patient’s frustration turned to persistence and then into success.
I sat on a blanket under a tree, as my daughter took a lap to get warmed up. After the lap, he checked her balance and sent her out again. This was the reassurance that I needed, and that Dr. Burns has offered her all along the concussion journey; test, challenge, retest. Just as I had witnessed with the other patient, Dr. Burn’s unique blend of brain games, soccer drills, conditioning and just plain fun made for a great out-of-office experience for my daughter. As the hour came to the end, my daughter said felt awful…. but I finally felt terrific! The entire hour session, Dr. Burns was there testing her abilities, checking her for symptoms and challenging her both mentally and physically. He was able to tell her that her symptoms were no longer concussion related. She was feeling awful because she was out of shape! He cleared her to practice with her team (no contact yet) and cleared her to watch TV. The later seemed to be the most important as she spent the evening icing her legs and catching up on the favorite shows.
We are leaving the concussion road behind and are traveling a new one, conditioning! See you on the pitch and my daughter said,” Please bring the ice!”