Trampolines, ATVs, above-ground pools… these are things I swore I’d never have in my backyard. My apologies if any of them exist in yours but there’s a certain stigma and dare I say DANGER to all of these things. But mainly I didn’t want them to make my backyard look like a monster truck rally.
Earlier this year, we gave into one of them and as you might have guessed, it’s a trampoline. Having an only child means that he spends a lot of time playing alone and this usually means inside and involving a video game. He swore that if he had a trampoline, he’d be out there every day getting more active. And I actually think trampolines are pretty fun.
So we researched and researched and ended up buying a Zupapa® 15 Ft Trampoline. This one to be exact.
It came with a padded exterior, a safety net, and even a shoe holder. When we assembled it in the Spring, my backyard was the hottest spot in the neighborhood. I was glad I had spent the money for a trampoline with a higher weight limit (up to 375 lbs.). What surprised me, though, is that the “official” safety instructions insist on only allowing one person at a time on the trampoline.
That takes all the fun out of it, right? Apparently, it keeps the safety intact.
While I’ll get out there and jump with Evan, he rarely wants to be out there alone. He either wants us there watching or jumping or he want his friends with him. For that, I can’t really blame him. When he had 7+ friends on, I put my foot down. Too many regardless of the weight limit. Typically we’d limit it to 4 people as long as they weren’t being crazy.
Turns out that even when they aren’t being crazy, it can still be a little dangerous. Evan and his friends were playing their own made-up game called Deadman Infected. From what I gather, you walk around on the trampoline with your eyes closed, like a zombie, trying to infect the others. Evan was playing deadman as was his friend.
And wouldn’t you know it – when your eyes are closed you can’t really see where you’re going!
The deadmen collided and both fell. When Evan was getting back up, his face came into contact with a knee and sent him backwards. He was shocked and stunned and thought he would be okay and then realized he wasn’t.
He came inside and I immediately gave him an icepack for his face but that wasn’t where his pain was. It was on the top of his head and it was throbbing. I figured it was normal. If I took a knee to the face, I’m pretty sure my head would be hurting too.
He seemed to be doing better in the evening and insisted I keep my promise to take him to the movies. When we got there, he said he was really worried because his head was hurting. I gave him the option of turning around and going home but he insisted we go in. Then, about halfway through the movie, he couldn’t take it anymore. I asked him if he wanted to leave and he said yes (and this was a movie he really wanted to see).
After stopping for some emergency ibuprofen, he rested in the back seat and slept until we got home. He still complained of a bad headache and fell into a sound sleep on the couch.
It wasn’t until this point that I realized this might be more than a headache. Yeah, I know. But having never played sports or experienced a concussion myself, I had no idea that’s what I could be dealing with. I mean, he hadn’t passed out, hadn’t thrown up. So it couldn’t be a concussion, right?
After consulting with Dr. Google, I stepped up my game and asked Dr. Facebook. It turns out a lot of my friends have dealt with concussions with their kids and had plenty to say about it.
It ranged from “just watch him closely” to “get to the ER now!” I made a judgment call and talked to the Nurse Line with my health insurance company. She was great and walked me through some of the key things to watch for…
- Was there nausea or vomiting? NO
- Was he unable to be roused from sleep? NO
- Did his pupils respond to light? YES
- Were his pupils the same size? YES
- Was there any clear fluid coming from his ears or nose? NO
- Could he walk in a straight line? YES
I followed the instructions to a tee and learned that Evan was probably okay and also that he desperately needed his ears cleaned! He advised me to wake him at least once during the night to repeat the symptom checks and then just watch him over the next 72 hours to make sure nothing got worse.
At the behest of one of my friends, I also decided to take him in to see his pediatrician. I was relieved that she didn’t take it lightly and gave him a thorough exam. Even though his only symptoms were a slight headache and a feeling a bit foggy-headed, she did, indeed, diagnose him with a mild concussion and gave him the news every kid wanted to hear.
Take it easy. Stay home from school if your head hurts. Avoid test taking and homework. And sit out for PE and recess.
But be careful what you wish for! Like a sore muscle, a sore brain needs to rest. That means no reading, no video games, no TV. Just basically do a lot of nothing. Turns out staying home from school isn’t nearly as exciting when the doctor’s order include hours of nothingness.
After two days at home, I’m ready to send him back to school tomorrow with a doctor’s note and preparing to be on standby should his headache worsen. He’ll be sitting out of tae kwon do for the next two weeks. And the trampoline? Well, I guess I’ll heed those safety warning a little more closely.