Concussions: An invisible epidemic?

Maggie HickeyMaggie Hickey was a star athlete and scholar. But after hitting her head, she couldn’t exercise or study without coming down with crippling headaches or other mysterious symptoms.

Maggie’s story is featured in Dream’s online edition. Here’s an excerpt:

On a Friday afternoon last October, 15-year-old Maggie Hickey was getting ready to go to a high school football game when she started feeling queasy. The next thing she knew, she was lying on a couch with a whopping headache, a gash over her left eye and only the fuzziest idea about what had happened. “I felt so disoriented and started crying,” Maggie remembers.

It turned out that Maggie had fainted, smashing her forehead on a doorknob as she crashed to the floor. Eight stitches later, Maggie and her parents left the emergency room thinking that the mysterious incident was over. “It hurt a lot but I was mostly embarrassed,” she says. “I was more worried about what people were going to think of my stitches than anything else.” So, despite a dull headache that wasn’t quelled by Motrin, Maggie returned to school and varsity rowing practice that Monday. But the pressure in her head didn’t go away. Instead, the pain intensified—especially when she exercised, studied or, strangely enough, when she entered brightly-lit areas, like a room with fluorescent lights or the sunny outdoors. Each day ushered in more peculiar maladies: Just sitting still in class caused crippling headaches and Maggie became anxious, fatigued and forgetful. Soon, she couldn’t eat because of constant nausea, and couldn’t sleep because of the incessant pain. [click to continue reading story]

Recent news headlines have people asking if testing for a concussion can involve equipment as simple as a hockey puck. One teen seemed to think so.

NPR reports on how a Michigan high school student designed a simple hockey-puck-on-a-rod concussion test for his school’s science fair project.

NPR talks to Children’s Frances Jensen, MD about the neurological effects of repeat concussions.

Read more of our coverage on concussions in young athletes.

This Eagle Tribune article talks about how awareness of the risks of concussions is growing.