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Old 11-02-2006, 12:39 PM   #1
jducusin
 
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Dojo: Open Sky Aikikai (formerly the North Winnipeg Aikikai)
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Concussion Recovery

Anyone else here ever have an Aikido-induced concussion (regardless of how minor)? I'm curious as to how your recovery went.

Thanks in advance,
Jamie

Open Sky Aikikai - http://www.winnipegaikido.com
"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 11-02-2006, 01:13 PM   #2
Fred Little
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Quote:
Jamie D. Ducusin wrote:
Anyone else here ever have an Aikido-induced concussion (regardless of how minor)? I'm curious as to how your recovery went.

Thanks in advance,
Jamie
Jamie, I'm sorry to hear that you have ask the question.

Mine was a result of taking a rising yokomen in the jaw and face in weapons practice; the damage was reduced by my body's independent decision at the moment of contact -- even before the pain started -- that it was time for ukemi to the rear. Had I stood my ground it would have been very bad indeed. Many thanks to all of my teachers who have stressed the importance of ukemi practice.

My observations:

1) Beer immediately after practice is a bad idea if you've just taken a solid shot to the head. Any beer at all.

2) Recovery from concussion goes better if I you take a couple of weeks off.

3) If you don't take a couple of weeks off, laying off the breakfalls for a couple of weeks will improve your recovery, as will practicing slowly and carefull, rather than aerobically.

4) You may think you're all better after a couple of weeks....in the morning. But I found that I tired much more easily than usual for a full month.

5) Better meant (in my case) not waking up with a headache that closely resembles a migraine halo every morning.

My two cents for what it's worth,

FL
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Old 11-02-2006, 01:33 PM   #3
akiy
 
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Hi Jamie,

I wrote my experiences with one concussion here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/misc/concussion.html

Hope that helps,

-- Jun

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Old 11-02-2006, 04:23 PM   #4
Carol Shifflett
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Quote:
Jamie D. Ducusin wrote:
Anyone else here ever have an Aikido-induced concussion (regardless of how minor)? I'm curious as to how your recovery went.
In my case, rather badly -- until recently. Used to be you couldn't do much about head injuries except hope to heal and be grateful for what you had left. That's starting to change . . . more below.

Meanwhile, right now, for a current injury, keep in mind that concussions are hits to the motherboard of your onboard computer. Take them very seriously and treat them gently.

No matter how minor we may want to think a head injury may be, if you notice symptoms at all better deal with the situation now . . . or deal with far worse later on.

As Fred says -- no beer! But besides NO ALCOHOL, that list should also include NO NSAIDS (no aspirin! no Tylenol! no painkillers period!), NO heavy activity, NO heavy meals. For details see http://round-earth.com/HeadInjuryIntro.html

This is an excerpt from my long-promised "Surviving Martial Arts" book which I hope to have out first of the year. Head injury has its own hefty chapter as looking back I see some terrible impacts on my life and the lives of many many others.

I suspect that head injury is far more common in the martial arts community than anyone wants to admit, but it's also common just because of Life -- and NO ONE wants to admit it. There are people who have fallen out of 2nd story windows or had half their teeth knocked out by a baseball bat -- and they're surprised that you'd think they have a head injury. Case in point: this summer the Pittsburgh Steeler's Roethlisberger was riding his motorcycle without a helmet, dove through a car windshield, splitting his jaw and smashing his orbit plus other injuries. The doctors admitted that he had a "concussion" but insisted that he did NOT have a "head injury." Those who've watched him play since the accident will disagree.

In a way, there hasn't been much point to admitting head injury -- couldn't fix it. That situation is changing radically.

If symptoms remain after several months -- whether it's mood swings, emotional outbursts, depression, strange aches and pains, fatigue, fibromyalgia type symptoms, sensitivity to light or sound, difficulty reading, following conversations, sleep apnea, or suddenly becoming a night-owl . . . whatever . . . look into EEG Neurofeedback.

"The Healing Power of Neurofeedback" by Larsen reads, unfortunately, like an infommercial but I (and some others on this List) can say that it's absolutely true. Meanwhile, there are many books and materials available on traumatic brain injury (TBI) but the problem is that they may need to be read not by the person with the head injury but by those who care about the injured one.

Good luck!
Carol Shifflett
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Old 11-03-2006, 04:53 PM   #5
Jill N
Dojo: K-W Ki Aikido (Kitchener, Ont)
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Carol:

Please post when your book is finally out. I have been watching for it. I'm thrilled to hear you will be publishing soon.

I give the "head injury" speech regularly at the dojo. Getting back to it right away after a blow to the head is not smart, not impressive or admirable. It is just plain stupid. Off the mat for at least 2 weeks if you see stars, or take a significant bump on the head during ukemi.

e ya later
Jill.
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Old 11-06-2006, 02:02 PM   #6
jducusin
 
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Quote:
Fred Little wrote:
4) You may think you're all better after a couple of weeks....in the morning. But I found that I tired much more easily than usual for a full month.
Thanks for the advice, Fred --- this is about where I'm at right now (it's been about 3 weeks)...still feel a little headachy and nauseous every off and on, though. :-(

Open Sky Aikikai - http://www.winnipegaikido.com
"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 11-06-2006, 02:03 PM   #7
jducusin
 
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote:
Hi Jamie,

I wrote my experiences with one concussion here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/misc/concussion.html

Hope that helps,

-- Jun
Thanks, Jun! It's good to hear (well, sort of...) that I'm not alone in this.

Open Sky Aikikai - http://www.winnipegaikido.com
"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 11-06-2006, 02:09 PM   #8
jducusin
 
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Quote:
Carol Shifflett wrote:
In my case, rather badly -- until recently. Used to be you couldn't do much about head injuries except hope to heal and be grateful for what you had left. That's starting to change . . . more below. <snip> Good luck!
Carol Shifflett
Thanks for taking the time to reply, Carol! Can't wait for the book to come out. Funny, isn't it, how one's interest in the healing arts increases exponentially once they become interested in the martial ones? For myself, I'm doing my best to take it easy. It's been three weeks since the injury so far. There's a seminar coming up next weekend and I'd hate to have to be off the mats, so I'm still playing it all by ear.

Open Sky Aikikai - http://www.winnipegaikido.com
"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 11-07-2006, 12:23 AM   #9
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: Concussion Recovery

My head hit another students elbow while we were both taking back falls. I had a giant lump on my head instantly. Soemone needed to make me go to the hospital...I felt as if I was in a fog for about six months and could really tell the differce as I got better. I literally felt as if I was walking out of mist.

Get medical attention...be careful

Jeremy

Jeremy Hulley
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Old 11-07-2006, 05:31 AM   #10
ian
 
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Rolled into someones kidney (they were in seiser) many years ago and knocked them unconcious. They had to be resucitated. They vomited, but were OK after an hour.

I've seen stars a few times myself, and I always check people for concussion if they have had a heavy throw and look a bit dazed. Can be very dangerous. If there are signs of concussion (pupils not dilating properly, double-vision etc) go and see a doctor. Sometimes you can have blood released into the brain and potentially you could die several days later. Also, as Carol said, you can have psychological problems (many of the vital point strikes on the head are for causing long term depression/psychological trauma and are not recommended for practise).

Last edited by ian : 11-07-2006 at 05:33 AM.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 11-07-2006, 09:50 AM   #11
Dario Rosati
Dojo: Zanshin - Milan
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Re: Concussion Recovery

I had my nose (the lateral bone, not the mellow center) broken last year during an iriminage from a direct head hit by uke, and almost immediately passed away after hearing a creepy "crack" that made everyone in the dojo stop practicing.

My sensei did understand almost immediately what happened from the great loss of blood, and immediately had me conducted to the hospital; i passed away again during the travel, so everyone was worried of some other severe damage at the head/brain.

I took all necessary exams (ortopedical and neurological) and luckily I was OK, except for the nose.
I had to stay away from the mat for 1 month; the real strange side effect was a strong pain to neck/shoulders which greatly outlasted the one at the nose.
This was probably due to the involuntary contraction of all the muscles in these regions at the istant of the impact; I had some sessions of shiatsu (massages and moxa) and they did relieve the pain.

Today only a small hole on the side of the nose at the touch is the remaining of this experience.

My advice is: when in doubt, go to the hospital... it is better to undergo negative exams than unnecessary risks.

Last edited by Dario Rosati : 11-07-2006 at 09:52 AM.

--
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Old 11-07-2006, 10:43 AM   #12
Fred Little
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Quote:
Jamie D. Ducusin wrote:
There's a seminar coming up next weekend and I'd hate to have to be off the mats, so I'm still playing it all by ear.
If you can't make yourself stay off the mat, consider only going to balance break, but not taking falls or assuming any position in which your head is lower than your torso.

Fred "Why didn't somone give me this advice last week?" Little
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Old 11-07-2006, 12:52 PM   #13
jducusin
 
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Quote:
Jeremy Hulley wrote:
Get medical attention...be careful
Jeremy
Check, and check. I went to Urgent Care just a couple of days after the injury and have been taking it (relatively) easy ever since. Much to my chagrin.

Open Sky Aikikai - http://www.winnipegaikido.com
"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 11-07-2006, 12:56 PM   #14
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Quote:
and almost immediately passed away
Uh, sorry, that english phrase would indicate that you died! I think you mean "passed out"...no offense, just thought it might save you some misunderstanding in the future. People might start calling you Lazarus!

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 11-07-2006, 12:57 PM   #15
jducusin
 
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
Rolled into someones kidney (they were in seiser) many years ago and knocked them unconcious. They had to be resucitated. They vomited, but were OK after an hour.

I've seen stars a few times myself, and I always check people for concussion if they have had a heavy throw and look a bit dazed. Can be very dangerous. If there are signs of concussion (pupils not dilating properly, double-vision etc) go and see a doctor. Sometimes you can have blood released into the brain and potentially you could die several days later. Also, as Carol said, you can have psychological problems (many of the vital point strikes on the head are for causing long term depression/psychological trauma and are not recommended for practise).
Thanks for the advice --- though I have already looked into it (and am also taking a course on Prevention and Care of Sport Injury, the text for which goes into extensive detail about concussions). I'm just curious what individuals' experiences with the recovery process was like...things they observed, how long their symptoms lasted, how long until they were 100% again, etc.

Open Sky Aikikai - http://www.winnipegaikido.com
"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 11-07-2006, 01:13 PM   #16
jducusin
 
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Quote:
Fred Little wrote:
If you can't make yourself stay off the mat, consider only going to balance break, but not taking falls or assuming any position in which your head is lower than your torso.

Fred "Why didn't somone give me this advice last week?" Little
Thanks again, Fred! Though --- truth be told --- asking me not to take ukemi (especially at a seminar with our Shihan's eagle-eye watching) is like telling a fish not to swim or a bird not to fly. Rest assured, however, I will be very careful nonetheless and take things as slowly as my overachieving nature will allow...thankfully, this weekend will mark four weeks since the injury, so it's not like I'm being all that reckless.

Open Sky Aikikai - http://www.winnipegaikido.com
"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 11-07-2006, 01:40 PM   #17
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Concussion Recovery

I've had way too much practice recovering from concussions (5 that involved hospitals) and have probably exceeded my lifetime quota. None were aikido related luckily. If you are still feeling it after a month I'd say you really got hit and still need to rest. Recovery mostly has felt like dropping a bunch of IQ points and gradually finding them again thru a fog. I also have a morbid fear of white vans. : ) My last took most of a year to recover from. I've been told that repeat injuries before being completely healed are a REALLY BIG DEAL. Not to be chanced. Do you think your Shihan would really care if all you did was go to balance break and didn't take falls? It is your brain after all.

Regards and enjoy the seminar,
Mark
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Old 11-07-2006, 02:00 PM   #18
jducusin
 
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Thanks, Mark --- believe me, I am taking my brain VERY seriously and will be playing it by ear every step of the way. For one, I'll be going it "Tai Chi slow" for the most part and baby steps from there. I'm utterly convinced that my brain is in fact my best feature , so I do (for the most part) treat it with tender care.

As Count Rugen slyly said to Prince Humperdink in "The Princess Bride": "If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything."

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:
Do you think your Shihan would really care if all you did was go to balance break and didn't take falls?
No comment.

Open Sky Aikikai - http://www.winnipegaikido.com
"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 11-07-2006, 02:05 PM   #19
Fred Little
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:
If you are still feeling it after a month I'd say you really got hit and still need to rest. ..... I've been told that repeat injuries before being completely healed are a REALLY BIG DEAL. Not to be chanced. Do you think your Shihan would really care if all you did was go to balance break and didn't take falls? It is your brain after all.

Regards and enjoy the seminar,
Mark

Which I would echo and to which I would add: If you are concerned about your shihan's reaction, talk to your instructor and either speak with your shihan face to face or have your instructor do so -- before the start of the first class.

I was a month out when I let myself be used as a throwtoy last Friday. Based on the way I feel now, I figure I set my recovery back a good two weeks.

Not good.

FL
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Old 11-07-2006, 02:34 PM   #20
jducusin
 
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Quote:
Fred Little wrote:
Which I would echo and to which I would add: If you are concerned about your shihan's reaction, talk to your instructor and either speak with your shihan face to face or have your instructor do so -- before the start of the first class.

I was a month out when I let myself be used as a throwtoy last Friday. Based on the way I feel now, I figure I set my recovery back a good two weeks.

Not good.

FL
Thanks, Fred. Believe me, I'm not high enough on the totem pole to be used as our Shihan's throwtoy yet (one can only dream --- give me a couple of years more for that), so it's nothing quite so dire a circumstance as that. I guess I'm just a keener. Also being one of the only senior students from our dojo going out to this seminar this time around doesn't help alleviate the pressure to perform, either.

"I swear on the grave of my father, Domingo Montoya", I won't take ukemi if I'm still feeling the slightest bit of post-concussive symptoms. Scout's honour.

Sigh...if there's one thing this whole shaken noggin' experience is teaching me, it's patience. I just wish it would hurry the heck up and finish the lesson already!

Open Sky Aikikai - http://www.winnipegaikido.com
"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 11-08-2006, 07:28 AM   #21
Dario Rosati
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Uh, sorry, that english phrase would indicate that you died! I think you mean "passed out"...no offense, just thought it might save you some misunderstanding in the future. People might start calling you Lazarus!

Best,
Ron
Uh lol thank you, another step toward perfect english

--
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Old 11-08-2006, 07:54 AM   #22
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Your English certainly trumps my Italian!

B,
R

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 11-11-2006, 01:56 AM   #23
Joezer M.
 
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Quote:
Fred Little wrote:
Mine was a result of taking a rising yokomen in the jaw and face in weapons practice; the damage was reduced by my body's independent decision at the moment of contact -- even before the pain started -- that it was time for ukemi to the rear. Had I stood my ground it would have been very bad indeed. Many thanks to all of my teachers who have stressed the importance of ukemi practice.
Mine was from too many people doing breakfalls in a crowded, small dojo... (My head right at where the other guy's foot landed)


Quote:
1) Beer immediately after practice is a bad idea if you've just taken a solid shot to the head. Any beer at all.
So is taking your first-kyu exam two days after... (Stupid... Stupid... Stupid... )

Quote:
2) Recovery from concussion goes better if I you take a couple of weeks off.
Yup, just what my doctor told me... Some light-impact exercise (such as swimming) was also highly recommended during the time-off... It's easier on your brain, while still maintaining your overall fitness, so it wouldn't be too much of a shock when you go back to the dojo...

Funny thing is, when I did go back to training, doing breakfalls was just fine, but doing a lot of circular steps triggered a good hour of migraine-like headaches...


Regards,
Joezer

I AM in shape... Round is a shape...
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Old 11-11-2006, 09:27 AM   #24
Carol Shifflett
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:
I've had way too much practice recovering from concussions (5 that involved hospitals) and have probably exceeded my lifetime quota.
Ouch. One can be enough to cause life-long changes in IQ, personality, physical function, etc. etc. And, with every additional concussion, your possibility of another one increases.
Quote:
Recovery mostly has felt like dropping a bunch of IQ points and gradually finding them again thru a fog.My last took most of a year to recover from.
Great description. And you're lucky if you found them again. Many people (and children) don't.
Quote:
I've been told that repeat injuries before being completely healed are a REALLY BIG DEAL.
It is a HUGELY BIG DEAL. Again, compare this to repeatedly slamming your laptop or cellphone on the ground many times a day or week and then being surprised that it doesn't work so good -- despite its having far less complex circuitry which is better protected than the human brain. For a really vivid illustration, get a container of cow brains from the meat department and throw THOSE on the floor. You're not just messing with wires and solder joints, you're messing with exquisitely delicate biological structures, some with the tensile strength of Jello -- or not.

You'll notice the pointers on staying away from alcohol and NSAIDs because they all destroy Vitamin C and promote bleeding. The flip side of that is: consider taking extra Vitamin C -- whether you're injured or EXPECT to be injured. C increases capillary strength preventing bruising and tearing. A quick and easy test for capillary strength is brushing your teeth. "Pink toothbrush" which you may see after popping too many Advil or doing the "Vitamin I" thing over after-class beers means you're vulnerable to bruising or tearing elsewhere. Blood in the sink might well translate into a setup for blood in the brain. Do not do not do NOT expect to add alcohol, aspirin, ibuprufen or a jarring/rotational shock to that without consequences.

For some painful pointers on how NOT to treat head injury, see "Doctor YES" in the current issue of ESPN. Sad report on the NFL treatment of concussed players which appears to be: "Get back into play immediately because otherwise you're costing the team money!" (and oh, BTW, once you've been used up and spat out we'll just buy another one)."

The nickname came from his habit of almost always declaring severely damaged players fit to return (often in the same game). His only NO is an adamant refusal to consider papers and research done by anyone outside his own NFL committee. He is not a neurologist. He is a rheumatologist (probably originally hired to poke at sore knees) and apparently even that background is a bit shaky. Apparently the NFL has bought themselves a doc. Not unusual, but as usual, it's the patient / the player who pays the price. At any rate, the article is an interesting presentation of contrasts between the "Get back on the mat and don't be a wimp!" mindset vs. the current research on why that is a really REALLY bad idea and the downstream costs for the injured human inside the helmet -- or the hakama.

Unless your dojo / sensei / shihan / nage is paying you multi-millions to be on the mat and be a throw toy, and unless those millions seem to you to be a fair trade for your brain -- meaning your life, your sanity, your ability to read and process information, to make a living after the contract is over, to be able to sleep well, walk, talk, and relate to other humans -- please find out what is involved and how not to end up as an Al Toon or Troy Aikman or like the millions of other injured brains in this country, many of which are warehoused in our prison system.

Dr. Len Ochs who treats traumatic brain injury (TBI) wrote the following list of symptoms for a letter that he gives to the friends, partners, husbands/wives of the injured. Because not only does the injured one not understand, neither does anyone else. Besides bad justment, emotional upheavals, confusion, and explosive temper that one might expect "for a few weeks" there's more . . .

**************************************
The person may become more vulnerable and emotionally sensitive (irritable, sad).
The person may become more distractible.
The person may become more depressed.
The person may become more forgetful.
The person may have increased problems sleeping.
The person may lose attention and focus.
The person doesn't absorb or remember some of what you say, even if you say it repeatedly.
There may be an unavoidable temptation for you to view the person as irritating, less competent, less dependable, and less fun to be with.
Your confidence in the person may drop, and he or she may become increasingly disappointing to you.
You may not be able to understand why the person doesn't stop acting that way and get back to normal.
You may be tempted to think about psychological reasons for the person's behavior, and find it hard to look at the person as if there is something biological going on.
Finally, it may seem to you as if the person may never recover from the problem, and that you won't be able to wait forever.
*************************************

These issues are not trivial. They are LIFE.
And awareness of the realities and the consequences ought to be part of training/information in every dojo -- because I guarantee that there isn't a dojo out there that hasn't got a brain injured member. It may even be Sensei -- can't handle numbers, money, snap decisions, unconstrained outbursts, can't stand crowds, exquisitely sensitive to electromagnetic fields, has to go live in a hermit's hut far away from people up on the misty mountainside next to the (white noise) waterfall. Ah! Sensei is operating at a Higher Spiritual Plane! Well maybe, but chances are that Sensei also has a brain injury.

The subject has been pretty much ignored for the simple reason that you couldn't do much about it. The good news is: now you can.
If any of these symptoms look familiar, take a look at EEG Neurofeedback. On the West Coast, I'd recommend Dr. Len Ochs mentioned above in Sebastopol, CA. See ochslabs.com which includes a list of providers in other areas.
On the East Coast, see Dr. Mary Lee Esty in Bethesda, MD. See neurotherapycenters.com
For more info on neurofeedback, see "The Healing Power of Neurofeedback" by Larsen. It reads like an info-mercial, but the miracle stories are real. I know because I've been there. And back.

Best to stay off that road in the first place -- but if you end up off-course for whatever reason, EEG mapping and neurofeedback can be the way back home.

Good luck to you all!
Carol Shifflett
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Old 11-11-2006, 11:02 AM   #25
Carol Shifflett
Location: PA
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 53
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Re: Concussion Recovery

Quote:
Jill Nielsen wrote:
Carol:Please post when your book is finally out. I have been watching for it. I'm thrilled to hear you will be publishing soon. I give the "head injury" speech regularly at the dojo. Getting back to it right away after a blow to the head is not smart, not impressive or admirable. It is just plain stupid. Off the mat for at least 2 weeks if you see stars, or take a significant bump on the head during ukemi.
Hey Jill! Nice to "see" you again! Well I HOPE it will be out early 2007 . . . It fell to that "losing focus" problem. I put the whole manuscript on hold just for the amazements of the chapter on head injury -- and keep forgetting that the whole point was a book with that chapter IN it, not to make the chapter into a book of its own.

Meanwhile, hurray for the Head Injury speech! (And where's our buddy James?) Clearly your dojo mates are getting better care and advice than million-dollar NFL professional athletes.

Cheers!
Carol
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