Health Team

Without proper care, recovery from concussions can be bumpy road

Posted September 28

Coaches and team trainers are more aware than ever of the signs of concussion in youth sports.

However, it's often still up to the player to know when to tell someone if they feel symptoms after a hit. If they ignore symptoms, it could make a short recovery turn into a long one.

These are the type tests for concussion symptoms 16-year-old Taylor Banfalvy took when she first came to Dr. Aaron Leininger at Johnston UNC Healthcare.

It was the start of basketball season last year, at West Johnston High School when Banfalvy felt the first blow to her head.

"It was a basketball hit off a rim during practice because we were just shooting around," Banfalvy said.

A second ball to the head followed the first.

Then, her head hurt.

"I didn't want to say anything to my coach at first because I didn't want to be, like, out for the season or anything," Banfalvy said.

It was running drills that convinced her there was a problem. She said she felt dizzy every time she stopped.

"Most commonly, the symptom is headache," said Leininger, of Johnston-UNC Healthcare's orthopedics and sports medicine. "Other symptoms that people can have are dizziness, poor concentration, light and sound sensitivity."

Also, confusion, memory problems.

Leininger is on the sidelines of many West Johnston High football games, and he says the weak link in responding to concussions is often the player's willingness to tell someone how they feel.

"What (happens) if they don't let us know, often times you can turn a concussion into, what could last maybe two weeks, or something like that, into one that could last two months," Leininger said.

Sandi Banfalvy says her daughter's symptoms, which included hallucinations, lasted not weeks, but for five months.

Then they were gone.

"I mean, she was symptomatic one day and the next, she felt fine," Sandi Banfalvy said.

This school year, Taylor Banfalvy traded basketball for volleyball.

Leininger's concussion patients come in regularly to assess their symptoms. It helps him advise them when they can slowly begin more rigorous physical activity before they return to their sport.


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