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Concussion after accident in PE lesson at school

(44 Posts)
WobblyLondoner Fri 03-Nov-17 14:47:57

I’d appreciate some advice about this. Will try and keep short!

My son has just started in Y7 at secondary school. It was going fantastically well until a PE lesson in the final week before half term. They were doing contact rugby for the first time, having previously done touch rugby, with professional trainers supervised by the PE staff. My DS (who loves some sports but doesn’t really like ones that involve a lot of contact) was tackled during a jogging tackle drill and banged his head. He carried on playing but after the class said he felt dizzy and was taken to the medical room and we were called.

We took him to A&E and he was diagnosed with concussion, and has now been diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. He was off school for a week, then it was half term, and he went back this week but has really struggled and we collected him early today. He is having problems reading (he says the words are fuzzy and float around), is still getting headaches and feeling nauseous, and is very anxious about being bumped and jostled. He’s not sleeping very well either, poor love.

There are 2 strands to this I’d welcome advice/views on.

The first is whether anyone has had experience of post-concussion syndrome. We’ve taken him to the doctors a few times now, and he has been seen at the hospital twice since the original concussion diagnosis (the last time during half term). The medics are always very reassuring and say his symptoms are classic post-concussion symptoms and that they will pass, with the recovery period varying from person to person. So if there is anyone who has had the experience of this with their child I’d be so grateful to hear it. Were there any things that your school put in place that helped them during their recovery?

The other thing I’d welcome views on is what you’d expect your school to do if this happened there. I’ve been a bit shocked at how relaxed the school seem to be. They have sent me (because I asked) an account of what happened, but it doesn’t tally with what my DS has said and they have not responded to us pointing this out. It isn’t clear whether he was actually knocked out. The school account specifically says not, but the tackle the account mentions was, according to my DS, an earlier one and not the one that caused the problem. At any rate, the hospital were very clear that you don’t need to be knocked out to suffer concussion.

After a few days faffing about trying to find out what happened I asked to see the head – but couldn’t get an appointment for over two weeks (though I appreciate half term will have been an issue here). The main thing we want to discuss with him is the PE lesson and what happened, but also to say that we feel let down by how poorly the school have communicated with us.

On the plus side, we have had support from the head of his year who we contacted early on, and she has suggested and implemented a few things to help (like being able to leave lessons early to avoid getting caught up in the crowds).

I really appreciate that schools have lots of pupils to worry about but I’d imagined that a child being that seriously hurt in a PE lesson would be something that really concerned them, and that they’d actively stay in touch with us, which hasn't been the case at all. Am I being a bit unrealistic?

Thanks if you've made it this far.

BikeRunSki Fri 03-Nov-17 14:57:22

I have no experience of post concussion syndrome, but that amount of time off after an accident to an employee in the Work place would be notifiable to the H&S Executive, and an investigation would be required, with mitigation measures put in place as appropriate. I would want to know 1- if there is an equivalent route for accidents to children at school.
2- what the school/LEA/Academy Trust etc policy is on investigating accidents.
3- What steps the school are taking to investigate the accident and what steps they are taking to stop it happening again.
4- What the school can do to support your son whilst he recovers fully.

I hope your son recovers well, and soon and the school step up to addressing the accident.

twinone Fri 03-Nov-17 15:06:31

I think the school have acted appropriately. They called you and you took him to a&e. I wouldn't expect more than that as you were available. Had you not been, I would expect them to take him to hospital.
As for after care from the school, again, I can't see anything wrong there. I would expect pe to ask your boy how he is, but nothing more than that.
Head of year seems to have made provision for him still being wobbly. All good.

I think you are expecting too much from the school. PE injuries are common, if not for you, for the pe department.
We have had the air ambulance twice and 3 land ambulances already this academic year.

Ttbb Fri 03-Nov-17 15:18:33

These kinds of accidents only happen when children haven't been taught properly/not supervised properly with the exception of a very rare freak accident. After any blow to the head the school should have immediately sought medical attention. On top of that the way they have communicated, the apparent cover up etc. All ring alarm bells. There us likely a safegaurdingissue here. You may want to investage whether similar incidents have previously occurred. If so consider moving your DS to a different school and suing in tort for the concussion.

NooNooHead Fri 03-Nov-17 15:24:48

I have had post concussion syndrome very severely about two years ago and had a severe breakdown because of it, and am actually worried about it again now after some silly woman shunted into the back of my car today.

It is quite worrying some of the symptoms it can bring on, but with lots of rest and support, i’m sure your son will be just fine.

I can PM you if you like - i’m more than happy to support you and give any advice I can. X

Starryskiesinthesky Fri 03-Nov-17 16:03:07

Tttb i'm not sure why you are suggesting suing the school. Of course accidents can happen without the need to sue someone.

Hope your son feels better soon but, as you have been told by medics, this is typical post concussion and should resolve in time.

Providing support and stability for your son is the best thing you can do.

user1475317873 Fri 03-Nov-17 16:34:43

I suggest you find an ostheopath and treat him, also with cranial ostheopathy. Hope he gest better soon.

Looneytune253 Fri 03-Nov-17 16:35:20

I honestly can’t see what else the school could have done. He had the accident, felt unwell and they sent him to medical room and subsequently home. That’s enough. It’s High school.

My dh had concussion before and it did take a while to get better. In fact he still has fuzziness and confusion 2 years on but that’s most likely because of the accident not concussion still.

RatherBeRiding Fri 03-Nov-17 16:42:55

I too would seek an opinion from an osteopath, or a chiropractor if the blow to the head was accompanied by any kind of blow or jarring to the neck region. I had what felt like concussion-type symptoms (and probably was mild concussion) following landing on the back of my head/neck after a nasty fall from a horse. I had vertebral concussion (I think) which a chiro sorted out and promptly stopped the dizziness and room-spinning sensation.

It might not be anything like that of course, but if he's still suffering it could be worth another opinion. Doctors aren't always the best with these kind of injuries.

pieceofpurplesky Fri 03-Nov-17 16:49:08

Firstly sorry your son was hurt. Secondly the school did everything they needed to do - they had professional trainers in, he was sent to medical, you were contacted and he went to hospital. To the PP who suggested that it is a safeguarding issue - ridiculous. The child was never in danger other than through an accident that was dealt with.
IMO the school has dealt with it - most heads would not really get involved and leave it to the years heads who know the pupils.
Just ask to meet the PE head to discuss why accounts are different - maybe your son does not remember clearly due to his concussion. This could happen anywhere - messing with friends/sports clubs etc.

2014newme Fri 03-Nov-17 16:53:15

I'm not sending what the school have done wrong? Is it just you want a bit if fuss and hoo-ha? Is that what you mean by more active

NumberEightyOne Fri 03-Nov-17 16:57:12

This is the reason why there is a campaign against the playing of rugby in schools.

MaisyPops Fri 03-Nov-17 16:58:30

Firstly sorry your son was hurt. Secondly the school did everything they needed to do - they had professional trainers in, he was sent to medical, you were contacted and he went to hospital. To the PP who suggested that it is a safeguarding issue - ridiculous.
*The child was never in danger other than through an accident that was dealt with.
IMO the school has dealt with it - most heads would not really get involved and leave it to the years heads who know the pupils.*
Just ask to meet the PE head to discuss why accounts are different - maybe your son does not remember clearly due to his concussion. This could happen anywhere - messing with friends/sports clubs etc.
This ^^
They have done what they should have. If he has been unconscious then they would have mentioned that so you could inform the hospital.
If they couldn't get a hold of you and it required it then they would have had staff take him to hospital.
If it was an emergency they would havr called an ambulance.

The head of year seems great abd has things in place for him to help him.

If you want to talk to someone maybe the PE staff would be best. I don't think it's a meeting with thr head sort of issue.

Hope he gets well soon

MaisyPops Fri 03-Nov-17 16:58:52

*bold fail - sorry

Stillnoidea Fri 03-Nov-17 17:02:38

Surely after a head injury the school should have stopped your DS from playing in the rest of the game? I thought that was standard rugby practice? although I have absolutely no experience so may be completely wrong!

I have known 2 people who had post-concussion and both took a fair while (weeks-months) to recover. One was longer as they managed to concuss themselves again a couple of weeks after the first concussion.

Duckstar Fri 03-Nov-17 17:07:18

I had post-concussion syndrome following getting knocked out in netball about 10 years. It was a good month before I felt normal. I found I cried all the time. I went back to work after 2 weeks (thinking I should be fine) and cried within an hour of getting there so needed another 2 weeks off. To put this in context - I’m one of those people who never takes time off work. I worked for 3 days with an appendicitis.

ILookedintheWater Fri 03-Nov-17 17:15:36

I fell onto the back of my head ice skating and 2 months later I still wasn't right.
Give it time OP: it sounds like the school are doing their best to accommodate his needs at this time. It will pass.

WobblyLondoner Fri 03-Nov-17 17:16:56

Thanks everyone, that's all very helpful. I posted on the school reaction in particular because I don't want to be precious about it. I know how busy schools are.

On the school reaction - of course I'm not going to sue, and I can see that this was an accident. But it was an accident that has changed a bright and confident child into a total shadow of himself for nearly 3 weeks. In contacting the school I wanted to find out a bit more about what had happened and whether there was anything that could be done to minimise the risk of this happening again to another child. I'd have been happy to do this by email or have a chat on the phone but just got nowhere - so at that point I asked to speak with the head.

Totally appreciate that we'll never find out what really happened, especially as my son is very fuzzy as well. But as a pp has said, there is a huge amount of info now about rugby and head injuries so I'd hope that if schools want to play it (esp indoors on a hard surface) that they have systems in place to watch carefully for head injuries.

WobblyLondoner Fri 03-Nov-17 17:18:21

PS sorry to all those of you who've struggled with post-concussion. I had a colleague who is still affected even though it is a few years since her accident.

Primaryteach87 Fri 03-Nov-17 17:21:26

Have you seen the documentary about rugby and brain damage. I honestly would be v Cross about contact rugby being allowed at all, especially in year groups (not weight based) as puberty hits dramatically for boys so some could be very much man-sized and others little boys.
I would raise an official complaint and ask for them to review their contact sports policy.
Because I’m so against this, I would actually sue and there’s almost nothing I would say that for but it’s one way to ensure they don’t harm another child through poor care and not knowing the science.

TheFairyCaravan Fri 03-Nov-17 17:21:44

I'm another who can't see what the school have done wrong.

DS2 had an accident playing rugby for the school, at school, in Yr11. They called an ambulance because they thought he had a neck injury but he'd dislocated and broken his shoulder in 3 places.

I dealt with the head of PE. They filled in the accident form, gave me a copy and sent one to the Health and Safety Executive because his injury was notifiable or something. We accepted it was an accident. These things happen. Schools, and parents, can't wrap kids up in cotton wool.

WobblyLondoner Fri 03-Nov-17 17:30:12

FairyCaravan and others - had I had any contact with the head of PE, seen an accident form etc I certainly wouldn't be bothering the head.

mimbleandlittlemy Fri 03-Nov-17 17:32:08

I wouldn't be at all surprised that your son's recollection is different to the school's. I have been a team manager for a rugby team affiliated to a well known rugby club for several years and watched my ds play from U10s - U16s (where we are now) and the boy's version is often at considerable variance from what the coaches, myself, parents or our first aider saw happen. It's often the nature of concussion that they don't clearly recall what occurred, even if they walk off the pitch absolutely fine, and as someone who has filled in a fair number of accident sheets over the last few years, I have to make the best of what I can from the most coherent reports I can muster during/after a fast moving game or training session.

If this had happened to your son during one of our club matches or training sessions we would have told the parent to take the child to A&E if there were any signs of confusion, sleepiness, headache or vomiting. They would be put on concussion protocol for 14 days regardless of the A&E diagnosis - so not allowed to return to any physical sport (both club and school) during that time. After 14 days we would ask that a health care professional clears them to return to sport. If not cleared they continue for a further 14 days and so on. Those are the RFU guidelines and it might be worth watching the video here: www.englandrugby.com/my-rugby/players/player-health/concussion-headcase/ which gives some helpful info for parents, players and coaches.

Personally, I would suggest to the school that they review their concussion protocol and make sure it is in line with RFU age grade rugby but... beyond that... I'm not sure that the school did communicate badly and it sounds like your ds's HoY is helping him in positive ways.

I do hope he gets over it soon.

tinofbeans Fri 03-Nov-17 17:38:15

I am a former teacher. You need to be sure that the 'professional trainers' were actually specialist rugby coaches.

Many sports coaching companies will send in coaches to coach say badminton, but the individual coach will not have any badminton qualification. If they were working under the teachers supervision, then the teacher would still have been responsible for the safety in the lesson, and the school are in a legal minefield.

The LEA should be able to send their health and safety person in to investigate, but it could well be a whitewash. Have the school interviewed other pupils to find out what happened?

tinofbeans Fri 03-Nov-17 17:38:49

I hope your son recovers quickly btw flowers

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