How Little People Know About Concussions Until It Happens in Their Family

Although he is a healthcare executive who spent years preaching about safety and prevention, Bob Duncan says he really didn't understand the impact of a concussion until his son sustained one.

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[Bob Duncan] One thing I've learned through this whole process is how little I knew about concussions and the potential of. So working in healthcare for many years and being involved in Safe Kids and understanding wearing helmets when we ride bikes and when we ride 4 wheelers and motorcycles, skateboards. All those things you think about, and yes, how important that is. But again, we go through life, and we get a lot of bumps and bruises and so I was taken back about how little I knew and how little I took this serious enough when Jonathan got an elbow to the head. and the impact that it ended up having on him. There's a lot of jokes that go around in our family now about putting a helmet on him constantly. And we say that jokingly, but in reality there are times crawling into the attic, getting into a vehicle— you know—you bump your head, and with Jonathan we're a little sensitive now, "Oh, we have to be careful." But, yes, as a healthcare executive who has preached and preached about wearing helmets and safety, I think we think about the big things, we tend to forget about the little things that could happen and the impact that a traumatic brain injury could have on us. When I was growing up and you had a head injury, you were always told, "Don't let him go sleep. Don't let the kids go to sleep." And so when we checked out of the emergency department they said, "Take him home, put him in a dark room, and let him rest." I'm thinking, "Does he go to sleep? Does he not? Do I stand there and watch and see if his chest is breathing?" And, no, you need to let them rest. It's important to let that brain rest both in sleep and just in activity of thinking. You have to think of your brain as like an engine, and it can overheat, and that's basically what happened. You've got to let it cool down and let the injury heal and not continue to add fuel to the fire of it just continuing to churn. And that's something as parents we didn't understand. And Jonathan didn't understand as well.
Posted on BrainLine February 21, 2014.

Produced by Sharon Ladin and Justin Rhodes, BrainLine.