Published: November 2021. Date of brain injury: July 2017 (aged 8 years old)
As a result of the impact of colliding with another child, Milo fell backwards onto the floor hitting the other side of his head. I wasn’t notified about the accident until I picked Milo up at the end of the day. He just looked awful. The bruising had already started to show, and he told me that he felt dizzy and sick.
An initial diagnosis of concussion
On the way home I called our local doctor and was able to make an appointment for Milo that afternoon. The doctor told us that Milo had banged his head significantly on both sides, and that he did have a concussion. He told us to keep an eye on him for a few days and advised that Milo may feel bad for a few weeks.
Milo started Year 4 in the September (the collision was in July). He had experienced a few headaches that summer, but one evening in October Milo had a headache that quickly turned to a migraine. He was crying in pain.
We waited to see if it improved overnight but it didn’t, so we took him to A&E first thing that morning. Due to what had happened earlier in the year, and Milo’s diagnosis of a concussion, the hospital did some scans to rule out anything else. We were grateful that they all came back clear.
However, from then on, his behaviour also started to change. He just had no energy! Milo couldn’t manage more than the basics every day at school. He wasn’t motivated to do anything and started to fall behind. He even stopped playing football. Thankfully, our visit to the hospital had led to us being referred to The Children’s Trust Brain Injury Community Service (BICS) team.
Accessing specialist support
It was so helpful to speak with a brain injury specialist and gain more of an understanding about Milo’s injury and how his post-concussion syndrome (also known as persistent post-concussion symptoms) would affect him. I wasn’t just a mum who was freaking out about a small thing.
It was scary to be told that he had a serious brain injury, but the BICS team were there to support all of us, sharing all the necessary information. They could explain the reasons as to why Milo was feeling the way he did and gave us hope that there would be an end, that he would start to feel better.
I really appreciated having someone to contact if I had any concerns, and to know that there was someone checking in with Milo specifically.
“I had the pleasure of first speaking to Verity in 2019 following Milo's head injury the year before”, explains Sarah Posadzki, Brain Injury Specialist Assistant at The Children’s Trust.
“Milo was experiencing dizziness, headaches and fatigue. Following the call, I sent Verity the return to activity and school guidelines, service leaflet, and concussion advice in the post. I also arranged for my colleague to visit the family at home to provide a Brain Injury Education session for Milo, Verity, and his dad.
“If children and young people follow the guidance and have a graded return to school and activity and plenty of rest, in most cases, symptoms tend to resolve after about six weeks. However, some children and young people continue to experience difficulties for many months after the initial injury – which is what happened in Milo’s case.”
Getting back to school
The BICS team was able to help Milo in his school environment, visiting the school and speaking to his teachers to explain what had happened and advise them what to look out for to better support him.
I think it carried more weight coming from a specialist. They were able to explain that if Milo needed to come in late or do a half day then that was acceptable. The school were very understanding and quickly put things in place for Milo to help him cope, including a quiet space for him to have some time out if he needed.
It was an incredibly difficult year for the whole family, but eventually we started to see improvements in Milo. I knew he was feeling better, but I didn’t want to mention anything until he realised it too. After a few days he did come and tell me that he really was feeling better, and that he thought it had passed.
Milo continued to feel better, started playing football again and was able to catch up at school. In September 2020 Milo started high school and is really enjoying it, despite the disruptions caused by the Covid closures.
His new head of year has been brilliant, informing all his teachers about Milo’s history, and even offering to continue to share the information regularly to ensure everyone is always up to date.
As Milo is on the BICS’ Long-term register, where brain injury specialists check in at key points in his development, the team got in touch to see if he needed any additional support with the transition. It’s very reassuring to know that the team will check in to make sure that Milo is doing ok, and as a family we appreciate the continued support.