Daily headaches a part of life after concussion

Matt Molloy
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During the peewee and midget provincial hockey tournaments in Glovertown and Gander, held April 9-11, two hockey players suffered concussions. One was a result of excessive roughness, and the other was a result of a goal celebration.

CBR Renegades in the provincial peewee J tournament, which was hosted by Glovertown. She’s feeling better, but as of last week, was still suffering from daily headaches.

During the peewee and midget provincial hockey tournaments in Glovertown and Gander, held April 9-11, two hockey players suffered concussions. One was a result of excessive roughness, and the other was a result of a goal celebration. TC Media will run a three-part series on the two athletes — Glovertown’s Abigail Hiscock and Gander’s Thomas Hedges — as well as their mothers, where the four talked about the injury, what happened moments after the injury occurred, and how the athletes are feeling today. For the third installment of the series, TC Media will speak to a doctor about the symptoms the two athletes showed, and what they have to do to ensure a full recovery.

This is Abigail’s story.

Abigail Hiscock was born to be an athlete.

Take sports away from her and the 12-year-old Glovertown preteen loses a bit of who she is, and what makes her tick.

By all accounts, Hiscock is a quiet person, but when she straps on the skates, and pulls her Glovertown Tornadoes jersey on over her shoulder pads, she transforms into a competitive hockey players who does what she can to help her team win.

During the Steele Hotels Provincial Peewee J Hockey Championships in Glovertown, held April 9-11, Hiscock was involved in an incident that resulted in her being stretchered off the ice and into an awaiting ambulance.

Her minor hockey season came to an abrupt end.

On April 10, during a game against the Conception Ray Regional Renegades, Hiscock suffered her first concussion.

In attendance was her mother, Terri Lynn, who remembers the incident like it was yesterday.

Unfortunately, Abigail has no recollection of what happened.

“Umm…I can’t remember,” said Hiscock, when asked about the events that led to her injury.

“She had the puck, and two guys were after her,” said Terri Lynn. “One was trying to push her, and the other one started punching her, and with that he started hitting her over the head with his stick until she fell down. That’s when she hit her head on the ice.”

Her first instinct was to get up and finish her shift.

However, the pain that she felt — a pain she’s never felt before — was too intense, and she knew there was something wrong.

Although she didn’t know then that she was concussed, she knew her injury was severe enough that the best thing she could do was remain where she was on the ice.

“I had a pain in my head,” said Abigail, “but I still wanted to get up and keep playing. However, it hurt whenever I started to move my head, and I was dizzy, and that’s when I knew I had to stay down.”

Things got even scarier for the young Tornado after that.

Although she remembers the throbbing pain she felt in her head, the moments that followed are a blank to her.

Her own mother stood and listened to what her daughter was saying, and she listened as she answered questions that were being posed to her by a nurse who attended to Abigail as she rested on the ice.

She doesn’t remember answering the questions, and the answers she gave were nowhere close to correct.

“The nurse kept asking her the date, and she kept saying it was Feb. 20. That’s her birthday, and it was the only date she could remember,” said Terri Lynn. “The nurse started to ask what month it was, and she kept saying it was Tuesday. She knew the day was Tuesday, but every time the nurse would ask her what month it was, she kept saying Tuesday.

“When she was down, all she kept saying was, ‘Boys, win it for me, win it for me. Make sure the boys win it for me.’ I had to go into their dressing to tell them that because that’s all she was concerned about.”

As Terri Lynn recalled those moments, Abigail kept her head down, and took in the information.

She heard her mother talk about it before, but listening to those stories still brings back a flood of emotions.

She was the centre of everyone’s concern, but she doesn’t remember being there.

“It’s really weird listening to it,” said Abigail.

Finally, after spending so much time on the ice, paramedics strapped her to a stretcher, loaded her into an ambulance, and transported her to the James Paton Memorial Regional Health Centre in Gander.

She remembers the ambulance ride, arriving at the hospital, and being put in a bed.

However, that’s as far back as her memory goes.

“They shined a light in my eyes, asked me some questions, and hooked me up to an oxygen machine,” said Hiscock of the ambulance ride from Glovertown to Gander. “They took me off the ambulance, took me in the hospital, and took my hockey gear off. They put me in a bed, and pressed on my neck to see if there was any pain, and that’s all I remember.”

The doctor told the family that Abigail would have to stop playing sports for a week, but the family told her she would have to refrain from physical activity for much longer than that.

As of last week, Abigail was slowly feeling like her old self, but she’s still suffering from one major side effect — daily headaches.

San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan suffered a concussion on Feb. 26, after taking an inadvertent stick to the head from Minnesota Wild’s Mario Scandella.

Since then, McLellan has also suffered from daily headaches.

Like the NHL bench boss, Abigail’s headaches arrive around the same time every day.

“I get headaches everyday,” said Abigail.

“And she spends a lot of time in bed,” added Terri Lynn.

“I get a headache around 2 p.m. everyday. It’s a pain that shoots right across my forehead,” said Abigail. “It lasts for 10-15 minutes. When it happens, my teachers let me leave the classroom to relax for a little bit.”

Today, Terri Lynn has a list of things she has to keep an eye out for, such as vomiting and dizziness.

Abigail, whose concussion has kept her from participating in softball-themed Phys-Ed classes at Glovertown Academy, runs on the spot for roughly 10 minutes a day. When she can do that without getting dizzy or suffer from a headache, she’ll know she’s on the path to being symptom free.

The doctor told the family that Abigail suffered a minor concussion, but if it happens again, she may be finished with sports altogether.

However, Abigail vowed to not let the injury change the way she approaches the game, and she’ll gladly talk about the injury so others will get a better understanding of what it’s like to live with such an injury.

She’s also thankful to her teammates, who did everything but sit next to her in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

“Her teammates wanted her to go on the bench, but she knew she couldn’t,” said Terri Lynn. “She even pleaded and cried to the doctor, and said she had to be there for her team. It was hard for her.”

“My friend, Hailey Wade, took my stick and used it the rest of the tournament. She’s an amazing friend,” said Abigail.

“The goalie, Josh Granter, wanted to rush to the hospital after the game to see her, to see if she was okay. In the second intermission of that game, her teammates chanted her name before they went on the ice in the third period,” added Terri Lynn. “They said they had to win the game for her, and they did.”

Organizations: Conception Ray Regional Renegades, San Jose Sharks, Minnesota Wild NHL Glovertown Academy

Geographic location: Glovertown, Gander

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    May 02, 2012 - 16:16

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