Having a Concussion During Midterms

Maddy H. ’21
A picture of me sledding before the accident.

Imagine everyone at school is getting ready for midterms and waiting for winter break, just trying to get through the week, but not you. You have a concussion. You must wait to take midterms and make up work you missed from the last few weeks. As your friends excitedly prepare to go on break, you’re dreading the uncertainty of midterms, your grades in the future, and school in general.

A concussion is the result of a hit to the head, often leading to temporary cognitive issues. Symptoms include headaches, fatigue, nausea, vision problems, balance problems, sensitivity to light, and many more. According to the Brain Injury Research Institute, about 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions occur in the United States each year.

In the last decade, the percentage of concussions in teens raised 200 percent said Head Case, a concussion management system. Twenty percent of teens have been diagnosed with a concussion and six percent have had been diagnosed with more than one, said NPR.

For people with a concussion, screen and reading time is limited, and they must not exert themselves. It is recommended that a person with a concussion sleep for significant amounts of time, allowing their brain to relax, rest, and reset.

Padua’s protocol for a concussion is that the nurse notifies the counselor, who will then notify the student’s teachers. Catching up with work depends on the recommendations of the student’s doctor. Students are given an appropriate amount of time to make up work.

If an “incomplete” is on the student’s next report card then Padua will determine the time of when her work should be done. While a student has a concussion, she is not allowed to take part in events at school that could worsen symptoms, such as athletics, assemblies, some field trips, and dances.

On Nov. 23, 2018, I fell off a sled and hit my head. Nothing too serious, I thought, so I went back to school the following Monday. After going to school for a whole week with a pounding headache every day, I went to the doctor on Friday, Nov. 30. At the doctor, it was confirmed that I had a concussion. I wasn’t allowed to take any tests, and I had to retake the ones I took the week prior.

I had many symptoms showing that I had a concussion, The week when I went to school, my head hurt and my eyes would hurt whenever I looked at the whiteboard. On Friday, Nov. 30, I started crying randomly and got sad all of a sudden. I also had trouble remembering. At the doctors’ office, I failed a part of coordination test which included touching your nose with your eyes closed and walking in a straight line.

In order ease my way back into the classroom I only went to school part time. On Monday, Tuesday, and Friday I took half days, and on Wednesday and Thursday, I had to take full days off. The next week, I had half days on Monday and Tuesday. I had my first full day recovering from my concussion on Dec. 12.

I had to make up five tests that I missed during those weeks, and I had a lot of class work that I missed as well. Midterms were five days away and the doctor said I couldn’t take high stakes tests. Therefore, I missed midterms and came to school that week to take one normal test or quiz a day.

The week of midterms I went to the guidance office every morning at 8:15 am and took my test of the day. After I finished my test, I texted my dad telling him I was finished and waited for him to get me. I had to wait for the first period to end so I could get my shoes in my locker. Every day I would finish my test around 9:00 am, and while I waited for my dad I would study for my test that I would take the next day.

Missing midterms was extremely stressful, and I am learning new things in all my classes. When I take my midterms, I’ll have to remember what I learned before the break. Still not knowing when I’ll be able to take midterms is nerve-racking, thinking about what I’m missing and how much I’ll have to make up and how much time it will take up to make up.