Jonathan Duncan's Cheerleading Concussion

Bob Duncan recounts the story of how his son sustained a concussion while cheerleading for his college team and the advice the family was given in the aftermath.

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[Bob Duncan] My son, Jonathan Duncan, was a cheerleader for Marquette University. And on February 9th, during a game of Marquette versus DePaul, I got a phone call right after halftime, and it was the cheerleading coach saying that Jon had been injured and that they were going to take him to the local hospital to be checked out and wanted me to be aware. And I asked, I said, "May I come get him and take him to a hospital closer to where we are and find out what's going on?" And so they said yes. And so I left the house, within 30 minutes was there to pick up Jonathan, and took him to our local community hospital after he had suffered a concussion. What happened was, during halftime with cheering, they had built a pyramid, and Jonathan was on the bottom support, and one of the young ladies fell, and as she fell she came down and her elbow caught Jonathan in the head. And he knew instantly that he was out. Everything went black, very painful. And all he could think of was, "Do not pass out. Do not pass out. Do not pass out." And he kept telling himself that, and they got him off the court. And what had happened was he chipped several teeth and taken a huge hit to the head. He walked himself off the court. Normally the cheerleaders walk off the court and turn immediately to the right where they stand and cheer. Jonathan knew he was injured, and he just walked straight back behind the bleachers and the cheerleading coach noticed that as well and went to follow where Jon sat down and laid on the floor because he was extremely nauseated and sick and was going to pass out. And so the trainer came and worked with him. The cheerleading coach worked with him. And that's when I got the phone call. So picked him up drove him to our local community hospital. We went through the emergency department. Did a CT scan, did some x-rays. He was sore in the neck area. They put a neck brace, and they confirmed that Jonathan had suffered a concussion. And the advice was to take Jonathan home, let him rest for the next 24 hours—for us to keep tabs on him— and limit his exposure to light to TV. So that's exactly what we did. No other questions were asked about what's impending the next week at school or anything like that, it was, "Go home. Get some rest. 24 hours, if things aren't better, give us a call."
Posted on BrainLine February 21, 2014.

Produced by Sharon Ladin and Justin Rhodes, BrainLine.

About the author: Bob Duncan

Healthcare Executive Bob Duncan and his wife, Sarah, have three children. Their son Jonathan was a sophomore nursing student and a cheerleader at Marquette University when he sustained a concussion that led to an academic leave of absence and ended his cheerleading career.

Bob Duncan