Child's name: Archie
Support Coordinator's name: Carmel Gallagher
Location: Yorkshire and Humberside
Archie was enjoying a PE lesson at school and was actively involved in ‘rugby tackling’ practice. After experiencing a particularly hard fall, he began to have a seizure and his teachers called for his parents and an ambulance. In hospital he received an MRI scan but no cause for the seizure could be found. His parents were told it was likely to be because of significant concussion caused by a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.
After a few days at home his mum contacted the Child Brain Injury Trust for information and advice about how best to manage his symptoms and to support his return to school. Our Regional Child and Family Support Coordinator was able to offer emotional and practical support to Archie and his family. We sent, via email, the best practice guidelines for concussion management and return to activities and followed this up with a telephone consultation to ensure that the family felt confident about manging his symptoms and when to seek further medical advice. This information was also shared with school.
Archie’s mum said “I found the CBIT website, webinars etc so useful. I think the factsheets are just brilliant – not so long and detailed to be daunting for a parent just starting to find out about brain injury but a good balance of theory and practical strategies. At a time when I was told all that Archie needed was time to recover from being in intensive care, but I felt something else was wrong, I can’t tell you how helpful it was to be able to access all those resources so easily (no log in, usernames and passwords to remember!).”
After about 10 days rest at home, he began a phased return to school which included shorter periods of attendance initially and a rest period as per our advice for managing his fatigue.
Whilst this return to school was very positive initially, Archie suffered a second, longer lasting seizure and was hospitalised. His parents contacted the Trust for reassurance and emotional support as he underwent further tests and was ultimately medicated for epilepsy. We signposted the family to specialist epilepsy services locally and again provided telephone support as Archie continued his rehabilitation at home. At this stage his parents also began discussing in more detail the nature of Archie’s initial injury and seizure and there were several areas requiring further investigation. We discussed the role of our Legal Support Service and the partnership firm working in the region and I suggested that the family may benefit from speaking to one of their advisors.
The family contacted Irwin Mitchell and have been supported by their team. Mum reports that their input has been brilliant in supporting the family to ask the right questions and seek clarification.
His Mum reports that Archie is doing OK physically – still a bit clumsy but balance is better and there don’t appear to be any major side effects from the medication. He is now back to managing 2 or 3 hours in school a day. School are being supportive however they are discussing moving Archie down to foundation level in some subjects. Whilst everyone accepts that this is a sensible way of supporting him to return to school, Archie is finding it a difficult transition to make.
In an email sent shortly before Christmas, Archie’s Mum wrote:
“Thank you so much for being such a source of calm and wisdom – and again for your amazing website! I know you have a massive caseload and other families with really complex needs, but I appreciate the time you give to us.”
We are going to support Archie and his school manage his emerging educational needs and ongoing rehabilitation.