A little over a month ago I was in a minor auto accident. I won’t go into details here because claims and what not have not yet been resolved. However, one part of it is that I suffered what appeared to be a mild concussion.
The problem is that a “mild” concussion, at my age, can involve major recovery. After the first week or two, things looked good. I was doing well. The headaches and nausea were mostly gone. Only things took a bit of a turn for the worst.
The first indication of a renewed problem was on a Friday afternoon where I developed some fine motor coordination issues causing me to drop something I shouldn’t have dropped. It seemed to be an isolated incident at the time. On Saturday I went back onto the ice. And I just had the most difficult time. My balance seemed off. I thought, maybe, the problem was the lacing on my skates. There’s a “sweet spot” in lacing up my skates where they’re tight enough for good control but not so tight that they cause excessive foot pain. And then, of course, I had been missing skating because of the accident I thought, “oh, I’m just out of practice.”
So, Sunday, and class. And the same issues but worse. During class I fell, twice, on things that I simply should not have fallen doing. It was then where the accumulated incidents made clear beyond my ability to pretend otherwise that the concussion was still causing me problems.
So, next day, I went to speak to my doctor about it. He referred me to a concussion specialist at a physical therapy place and I went into treatment. A bunch of exercises designed to help my brain recover from the shaking up it had gotten.
So, three weeks later, I’ve been symptom free for a week. At a Friday morning session I talk to the therapist treating me (the specialist was out for the week, but as is usual for these places he left detailed instructions for my treatment) and asked if it was okay for me to return to the ice. She said that she thought so but to take it easy, just a little bit to see how it goes.
That brings us to today and the afternoon public skate session. I was able to do basic forward skating: forward stroking, one foot glides, and forward crossovers. Could do the backward basics: Backward crossovers and backward inside and outside edges on the circle. Forward outside three-turns and forward inside Mohawks went well too. Wasn’t going to do anything that involved fast head motions so, no spins.
Two “hiccups” during all this. First was a kid fell in front of me, not quite in my line of travel but close enough to distract me from what I was doing, leading to my catching a toe pick and falling to hands and knees. But then, I do that sometimes even without a concussion. The second “hiccup” was more concerning. About ten minutes in, the “mental effort” required to skate started to rise precipitously.
I called it quits at that point. Still, I figure it wasn’t bad for my first foray back onto the ice.
I think that I can probably benefit from brief sessions onto the ice provided I exercise the discipline to stop when I hit that “mental effort starts to rise precipitously” point.
I plan to talk about that with my physical therapist Monday (the specialist will be back then) and see what he says. I don’t plan to do skating class tomorrow. There’s just too much chance I’ll be tempted to push beyond a safe limit.