4 months and counting…
May 3, 2017, was officially 4 months since I had my concussion. This is getting old. The good news is that I’m pretty sure I’m making progress. I’m now having good and bad days, roughly balanced out the same.
I learned an interesting fact the other day, while watching hockey night in Canada. The first period between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals finished, and a group of 4 broadcasters (Ron MacLean, Pierre Elliot, Nick Kypreos, Kelly Hrudey) were discussing Sidney Crosby’s most recent concussion, his fourth one.
I don’t remember who stated it, but one advised that a new study was published in the sports journal of medicine (I couldn’t find it, and most are subscriptions anyway), where ‘they’ are now finding that returning to your daily activities just might be the most effective way to recover. This is a clear deviation from how concussions have traditionally been treated, including my own. However, it’s obvious that the severity of the concussion is going to play a factor in how it’s treated.
Now bear with me, but this is interesting to me. Here’s Crosby’s initial timeline (taken from NHL.com):
Jan. 1, 2011 — Crosby, the NHL’s leading scorer and 11 months removed from leading Canada to the Olympic men’s hockey gold medal, is woozy and clearly shaken after being levelled by a blind-side hit from the Capitals’ David Steckel late in the second period of the Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Despite being badly shaken, Crosby remains in a game that is played in a steady rain.
Jan. 5, 2011 — Because Crosby shows no signs of a concussion following the Steckel hit — he complains only of neck pain — he is cleared to play at home four nights later against Tampa Bay. During the an 8-1 Penguins victory over Tampa Bay, Crosby is driven hard into the boards by Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman.
Jan. 6, 2011 — Crosby flies to Montreal for a Penguins-Canadiens game, only to return to Pittsburgh after experiencing concussion-like symptoms. After being examined by Michael Collins, a concussion specialist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Crosby is diagnosed with a concussion.
Jan. 7, 2011 — After testing Crosby, Collins determines that the concussion is affecting Crosby’s vestibular system, the part of the brain that allows an individual to stand upright and maintain balance. Collins knows then that Crosby will have a lengthy recovery. Neither Collins nor the Penguins comment on this until a press conference on Sept. 7.
March 31, 2011 — After experiencing numerous symptoms from the concussion, including fatigue, fogginess and a sensitivity to light and sound, Crosby stays off the ice for nearly three months before being cleared to resume working out during a Penguins’ trip to Tampa Bay.
Mid-April 2011 — Stops practising during Pittsburgh’s first-round playoff loss to Tampa Bay when his concussion symptoms, including headaches, return. He does not work out or practice again until the Penguins are eliminated.
May 2011 — Vacations in France while remaining off the ice.
June 2, 2011 — Cleared by the Penguins to resume off-season activities, including skating and conditioning work.
July 15, 2011 — Staying with his conditioning schedule from past summers, Crosby begins strenuous workouts designed to get him ready for training camp in two months.
Aug. 24, 2011 — The Penguins issue a statement saying Crosby has altered his off-season workouts, after he again experiences concussion-related symptoms.
Sept. 7, 2011 — Crosby makes his first public appearance since April at a press conference, saying he has shown rapid improvement over the previous three weeks. The two concussion specialists treating him say he is expected to make a full recovery, with no lingering injury-treated issues or effect on his quality of life. No timeline is given for his return to the NHL.
Sept. 16, 2011 — Penguins scheduled to open training camp. Crosby is not expected to initially take part.
Oct. 6, 2011 — Penguins open the NHL season at Vancouver. Crosby has not been officially ruled out, though it appears unlikely he will be ready to play.
Now my timeline (so far):
Jan. 3, 2017 – I fall on the ice at work, knock the breath out of me for nearly 30 seconds (it was a little nerve wracking). I finish my shift and go home, with headaches starting about 2 hours after the fall.
Jan. 4, 2017 – I go to work, get a full exercise session in before (with headaches, I took several extra strength ibuprofen). My NCO sends me home around midnight as I could no longer focus and the headaches were too much.
Jan. 5, 2017 – I go to a walk-in-clinic and the doctor signs off as ‘unfit for duty.’ Light hurts, sound is unbearable, super stiff neck.
Jan. 23, 2017 – CT scan at the hospital, which I later find out is negative.
Feb-March, 2017 – Off work due to an inability to focus, constant struggle with sounds, thinking slowly and headaches every single day.
Apr. 5, 2017 – First appointment with a neurologist. Neurologist sends a requisition for an MRI.
May 1, 2017 – X-Ray to ensure there is no metal in my head.
May 2, 2017 – MRI.
May 6, 2017 – Watch CBC Hockey night in Canada, learn about new study.
Now, while there’s no way I can compare the severity of my concussion to Crosby, it appears I was told to do similar things, stay off my feet, lots of rest, no sound, etc.
Now fast forward to his most recent concussion, game 3 of the second round. While everyone but Crosby and the penguins has no idea how bad his fourth concussion really was, he was moving almost immediately the next day and practicing with his team – he even joined the team for game 5 (and was engaging in full contact)!
I’d really love to find that new article and see what studies they’ve done to reach this new conclusion, where you resume your daily activities as quickly as possible. The idea is you resume activity, if you feel good, you progress to something more strenuous. You continue this process until you’re fully recovered, only taking steps backward when your symptoms re-surface.
So, what does this mean for me? Well, I have a follow-up appointment with the neurologist May 17, 2017 to review the MRI results. While I have no idea what he’s going to tell me, I’m optimistic. I know I’m not ready for full operational duties, but a GRW would be nice. I also want to bounce this new idea off him and see what he thinks. My GP has pretty much deferred all professional opinions to him now, as he is the specialist. I’m assuming that once the neurologist determines I’m fit for GRW, my GP will simply monitor it and set the parameters for how it will look.
I’ve started walking more, and in some cases even gone for such runs. So far, I haven’t noticed any effect on my headaches; however, my headaches are still there.
Oh the possibility of going back to work, I’m excited! Let me tell you, it’s hard to provide for your family when you’re not working…
Anyway, thanks for keeping up on my journey. If you find that new article, please forward it to me.
I’m starting to get fluffy…hah, who am I kidding? I was always fluffy…..