In March of 2011, Nolan, my 10 year old younger brother, received a severe concussion while playing soccer on the playground. Nolan was standing in front of a wooden goal post when a classmate attempted a kick in mid-air. The impact of the kick was to my brother’s forehead and as a result, the back of Nolan’s head hit the wooden goal post. Nolan fell to the ground and his temple hit the hard clay dirt. He lay there stunned and initially couldn’t move until a friend walked over to help him up. The bell rang for recess to end and Nolan went to class, not mentioning what had just happened on the playground to his teachers. He had the classic symptoms of headache, dizziness, and nausea. He did not know the term “concussion” and therefore, was unaware his symptoms were related. When he came home from school he complained he was not feeling good but failed to mention to my parents what happened on the field. My parents assumed he was coming down with the flu or some sort of virus. The next day, he was still complaining and my mother took him to the doctor. It wasn’t until this visit that it was discovered that an accident occurred at school. Nolan had blurred vision and overall was not feeling well. He could not return to school due to his severe headaches and sensitivity to light and sound. It took him almost two months to recover.
During his recovery, Nolan could hardly concentrate on homework due to his 24/7 painful headache. This is when he began to fall behind in his class work, homework, and grades. I watched him struggle with concentrating and staying on task. Homework that would typically take 2 hours to complete, was now taking him 4 hours. He could only concentrate for short periods, usually 15 minutes and he would have to take a break, for complex thinking made the headache feel more intense. During that time, with the help of an administrator and teachers, it was decided that Nolan needed a tutor. The tutor helped him immensely at the end of the school year and into the summer. The summer months were coming to an end, and while swimming in a pool, Nolan was inadvertently kicked in the head resulting into his second concussion. As our family has learned, due to his first concussion, Nolan is more susceptible to receiving more concussions from just the slightest blow to the head.
By the end of the 2013 school year Nolan endured a total of 3 concussions, 3 emergency room visits, CT scans, MRI and countless neurologist visits. My brother, who was once extremely active, now has limitations on his physical activities. Today, Nolan no longer needs a tutor and is doing much better at staying on task. After witnessing Nolan’s struggle to concentrate, I believed other students who had suffered concussions were also struggling with concentrating on their school assignments. I then decided I wanted to bring awareness to these underlying issues.