Sunday, May 1, 2016


Concussions are funny things. They cause your brain to hurt just by thinking. It doesn’t make much sense until you understand the brain is bruised and requires time to heal.

Symptoms can appear right away or not for hours. The most common symptoms include a headache, dizziness, and spotty vision. For parents, signs to watch for are confusion, vomiting, and stumbling or falling. This brain injury can be mild or severe and lead to death. The following three incidents had three different outcomes.

Ohio Fastpitch Umpire, James Simpson, took an indirect, foul tip to head and passed away two days later on April 25, 2016. Jim was unaware the hit caused internal bleeding. Additional information is not known at this time. Jim’s family is our hearts and prayers.

A lacrosse player took a shot on goal to his helmet. He shook his head and remained motionless while the game went on around him for a few seconds. He had two black eyes from the incident, but no symptoms or complaints. The coach nor referees took him off the field. Concussion? Probably.

A softball player, who is a catcher, took a foul tipped ball to the helmet right between the eyes. She stood, shook her head, and chased after the ball. Everything seemed normal. Twelve hours later, she complained of a headache and the street lights gave her spotty vision. She even became nauseated and dizzy.

The softball player had a mild concussion. The doctor wrote her off school for a day and advised her not to watch T.V. or use her phone and to get plenty of rest. She’d have to pass the Base-Line Concussion test to return to the game.

When she returned to school, looking at a smartboard and trying to concentrate caused the symptoms worsen to the point of having to leave and see a Sports Medicine Doctor, who specialized in treating concussions. The doctor wrote her off school for a full week and gave her specific instructions on what she could and could not do. These included: sleeping as much as possible, only watching TV an hour a day (no big action shows with lots of colors and/or explosions, etc.), no softball practices or games, not even to watch (too much action and thinking), only fifteen minutes on a computer, tablet or cell phone per day, and only walking five minutes at a time until symptoms lessened and went away. The return to play protocol is completed one on one with the school’s athletic trainer and includes light aerobic exercise, sport-specific exercises, no contact training drills, full contact practice, and finally return to play.

In my new young adult release, Rae and the Ruby Scepter, Rae takes a hit to the head when she collides with the runner she’s tagging out. Hours later, Rae fears she has a concussion when she finds herself in a strange place, the world of Ferane. She’s been enlisted to save the world instead of chasing her dream to earn a softball scholarship from a PAC-12 college. You’ll connect with her constant thoughts about the game and how she uses her experience as a player throughout the book. To read more about Rae and be part of her everyday life visit her on Instagram (Rae.degraff.0416) or Twitter (@RaeDeGraff0416).  Check out on May 3rd, 2016 for a print copy, or pre-order the e-book now

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