By now many of you will have heard about what happened to my 16 year old son, Eddie over the weekend. If you didn’t hear, firstly please be reassured that Eddie is now home and on the road to recovery however I thought it would be helpful to share all the details with you here to ensure the safety of your children remains the priority at all times. Watching my son playing rugby is one of my greatest joys in life. Standing on the touchline as a proud mum, this Saturday was no different. Eddie played fly half in the 1st XV and after a closely fought match, in the last play they won. It was cause for a celebratory team photo and joyous singing in the changing room. However within an hour, Eddie complained of a headache and started vomiting. Immediately my husband and I went into concussion protocol and I called friends to care for our dog, Rafferty. Call it mother’s intuition, I knew this was serious and we wouldn’t be back home any time soon. I was right. After two hours under close observation in A&E, I insisted he was given an anti-sickness injection and that the headaches were worsening. He was sent for a CT. Within minutes, we were told that Eddie had fractured his skull and there was a large bleed. Given morphine, Eddie was blue lighted to King’s College Hospital and met on arrival by the neurosurgeon who explained the surgery he needed; a right temple craniotomy and evacuation of the extra dural haematoma and they disappeared off to theatre. Jon and I left the hospital and sat in the car to wait. Two hours passed. Three. Four. Nothing. We went back into the hospital trying to track Eddie down. Five, six hours, no news. Eventually after seven hours, the phone rang. Eddie was in recovery. The surgery was uncomplicated however the reason for the delay was twofold. Eddie needed sedation as he was agitated coming round from the anaesthetic. Apparently it took seven people to hold him down. Also, the surgeon had needed to go straight into another emergency surgery. Fast forward to Monday evening, less than 48 hours after neurosurgery we were back home with Eddie. The NHS is incredible. From arrival at the Princess Royal to his release from King’s, I counted more than 50 people who helped Eddie get the treatment he needed. We are grateful to everyone who made it possible for us to have Eddie home and safe. My key learnings from this weekend are to trust my intuition, that I am calm under pressure and that clear assertive communication is critical to move to the next step. Eddie’s swollen, bruised and exhausted but he’s ok. He’s home! Hopefully after half term Eddie will be back on the touchline to watch everyone play the sport he loves. Now we focus on recovery.
ACTION POINT This week the action is simple and straightforward. Stay safe and stay vigilant! During the game Eddie had taken a glancing knock to the right ear and temple from one of the opposition player’s knee when making a solid low tackle. At the time he had got straight up and was a bit dazed and said he had ringing in his ears but it stopped after a few seconds. He did not show any signs of being concussed and passed all the tests that needed to be taken. He continued to play for the last 20 minutes of the game. Our advice is to always err on the side of caution and seek medical attention immediately. Don’t wait to see if it gets better or subsides. We caught Eddie’s bleed early as we went straight into hospital and were assertive enough to get a CT scan. You know your child better than anyone and can gauge the pain levels. Eddie has a high threshold for pain so I had to explain that his 8.5/10 headache was bad and should be taken seriously. When it got to a strong 10, I again relayed the severity. Like all experienced rugby coaches, Jon is required to be trained in Concussion Awareness and the RFU have plenty of information and training modules to deliver this. But if, like in Eddie’s case, the concussion only presents itself AFTER the player has left the purview of the coaches then it is up to those around the player, particularly parents in the case of under 18s, to be aware of the signs of concussion and the protocol to follow as recommended by the RFU and consistent with NHS guidelines. Please refer to this page on the RFU website for an open access version of the Concussion Awareness Training Module and much more: https://www.englandrugby.com/participation/playing/headcase
These guidelines saved Eddie’s life.