Now what? Hopefully, you’ve been thoroughly examined and your doctors have ruled out any kind of bleed.
Let’s cut to the chase:
1. Go to sleep.
2. If you’ve been instructed by your doctors to have someone keep an eye on you initially and wake you up periodically, by all means, do. But, make sure that you sleep.
3. NO ELECTRONICS! Ditch your cell phone. Forget that you own a computer. Leave the TV off. Put your books and magazines in a drawer. Music? Don’t even think about it. Mom and Dad: take your kid’s phone, iPod, iPad, and laptop away. Turn off your lights and go to sleep. You will be tempted to check texts, log into Facebook or Twitter to tell everyone how you are, or read and watch TV because you’re bored. Don’t do any of it. Not even a little bit. If you think you feel bad now, just wait. It can get worse. You are immediately putting yourself in jeopardy. You wouldn’t break your leg, get a fresh cast, and then say, “Well, I’ll only walk on it a little bit” while heading outside to mow the lawn or deciding that you need to vacuum the house. You shouldn’t do that with your brain, either. Your body needs full cognitive and emotional rest for a few days after any concussion in order to try to repair the damage done. Work, school, and “having stuff to do” are not valid excuses to avoid full rest. Rest is boring and it’s inconvenient. Unfortunately, having a scorching headache, being nauseous, throwing up, not being able to think, suffering incredible mood swings, and having to wear sunglasses 24×7 for days, weeks, months, and even years on end is relatively inconvenient, too. That’s what you risk if you don’t take resting after a concussion seriously. Do yourself a favor and spend the next three days in bed, with the lights off, asleep. If you’re an athlete, don’t even think about practicing or competing again until you’ve been back to the doctor, are symptom-free, and have been cleared to return.
3. Still feel lousy after a few days? Call your Doctor. Better yet, call a concussion specialist. You can usually find them by searching for your nearest sports concussion clinic, or sports medicine facility. This link will help you find someone who will be best equipped to help you: www.concussionclinics.org
Typically, patients are given a wide variety of discharge instructions: some patients are given excellent information on what to do in order to recover, while some (sadly) receive no guidance whatsoever. The Knockout Project exists because the people associated with it were given poor instructions when we were hurt and we were generally ignorant to the best steps to take in order to recover. We hope that our loss is your gain. If we could go back in time and do the right things after our concussions, we would do it in a heartbeat. But, we don’t have that opportunity. If you do, take advantage of it.
Interested in reading more? Don’t. Go to sleep. If you’re a parent or a significant other doing research, then by all means, visit our “What Brought You Here?” or our library sections for more pieces that are in-depth.