Monday, June 24, 2013
Like most 16-year-olds, Dusty Moore likes music and sports. But in October, he traded his favorite tunes for soothing classical music. Why? A particularly rough night on the football field resulted in a traumatic brain injury (TBI, also referred to as a concussion), and Dusty was on what his doctors called "brain rest."
During a Friday night home game, Dusty, a high school junior, ran a play he had practiced many times in drills. It wasn't until returning home from his first full-pads practice since that game that the vomiting, headaches, blurred vision and stumbling started. Dusty suffered a traumatic brain injury called a concussion.
Dusty's mom, Charlene, is a nurse herself and insisted Dusty go to the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)/Concussion Clinic at CHoR.
"Knowing that Dusty is getting the same treatment players in the NFL would get is so important to me,? said Charlene. "The fact that we have access to state-of-the-art services and real expertise right here in Richmond is such a blessing. We didn't need to travel out of state to Duke or the MAYO clinic to get great care; it was right in our backyard."
Dusty was taken through a series of imPACT tests to determine the severity of his concussion; the same testing used by the NFL, NHL, MBA, MLB, and other professional sports leagues. He wasn't allowed to practice until his brain fully healed, and his doctor put him on three days of complete brain rest to jump start his recovery. Brain rest consists of several days with no television, no cell phone, no video games and no music. Things most teenagers can?t live without.
Charlene monitored Dusty?s brain rest message after message, as she texted Dusty's friends on his behalf. Charlene is a self-described "team mom," having only missed two games in her son?s entire football career. Her family?s love of football is rooted in the Deep South, and she passed on her heritage as a Southern Miss grad. Even though she still loves the sport, the clash of football helmets makes her cringe. She can't help but think of Dusty?s helmet colliding with the helmets of two other players the night he was injured.
Over the six months following his concussion, Dusty received recovery support from the team at the clinic, his friends and family, and most importantly his biggest fan. Knowing the lack of sports activity would be a challenge for Dusty, Charlene invited Dusty?s friends to come to their home, and found other activities they both love, like cooking.
Charlene found her support at the TBI/Concussion Clinic through a network of parents facing similar situations. During Dusty?s visits to the clinic, Charlene talked to other families who were further along in the recovery process and could offer encouragement. Likewise, she was able to offer support to parents whose journey had just begun. Charlene also received support from the nurses and staff, who were ready and willing to answer questions anytime.
"It was so comforting to know that someone was there in case something came up," said Charlene. "During his recovery, Dusty was in a car accident and rolled his truck. He was taken to the emergency room, but the first place I called was the clinic to see if I needed to have him transferred or needed to do anything special because of his concussion. It was so nice to know I had experts on my side that knew my child."
Dusty is almost back to normal. Lingering focus issues have prevented him from receiving release to return to sports, but the doctors expect a full recovery. Dusty knows now, more than ever, that concussions need to be taken seriously. Many concussions go untreated, which is why having a place like the CHoR TBI/Concussion Clinic close and accessible is so important. The clinic is the only of its kind in the region with a comprehensive team including certified brain injury specialists, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians, certified ImPACT consultants, neuro-psychologists, sports medicine physicians, registered nurses, rehabilitation therapists, social workers and educational consultants who can address the physical, emotional, educational and social needs of each patient.
"I think it is the most wonderful clinic that could have ever been put together," said Charlene. "The passion they have in caring for kids really shines through. I couldn?t imagine going anywhere else."