Getting back from a concussion

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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by Kermithimself

A little over a month ago I had a "minor" crash. I was riding home from work on my normal bike, had to pass another cyclist, and as I was passing him he steered a bit to the left and my bars hit his and I went off the bike. I got some scratches but no visible damage to my head - I was lucky because I was not wearing a helmet. The hospital told me I could have a minor concussion, and after a bit over a month I'm still experiencing headaches whenever my head gets bumped.

I tried riding on my bike a couple of weeks ago, but after 15 minutes my head hurt so bad due to the bumps in the road, that I had to turn around and ride home.

So my last couple of training sessions have been moderate, gradually turning up intensity on my hometrainer where the road is always silky smooth!

Now, this is the first time I've really experienced a concussion, even a minor one, and from what I've read it can take anywhere from a couple of days to months before it's gone again. So what are your experiences with concussions and the recovery time from one? It's always reasurring to hear from other bikeriders that it will get better in time instead of hearing it from a doctor who might not have experienced it.
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by Rick

I have had a few bad crashes in various sports that really rang my bell: cycling, motorcycling, hang-gliding my advice is simply this: don't get medical advice on an internet forum for something as potentially serious as a concussion and brain injury. Talk it over with your doctor right away.

Fortunately, I recovered very quicky from my head injuries. No lingering headaches, etc.
But I used to be a really nice guy, and now I am an opinionated arshole! So there might be a connection. :noidea:

My life has been saved so many times by helmets that no one ever needs to urge me to wear one. In fact, I am wearing my protective E-M filtering tinfoil helmet as I type this.

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by Tapeworm

Anything in relation to the head is very simple: expert medical advice only.

Get thee to an expert in the field. Concussion, especially ones with any lingering effects (such as headaches) are not to be *f##k* around with in any way, shape or form.
"Physiology is all just propaganda and lies... all waiting to be disproven by the next study."
"I'm not a real doctor; But I am a real worm; I am an actual worm." - TMBG

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by User Name

yeah ^

I tried to think of a way to say this without sounding too alarmist, or to possibly make you panic unduly, but I couldn't.

I know a guy who hit his head few months ago, and was complaining of headaches for the whole time since. He died recently from either an aneurysm or stroke, and he was only in his forties.

I didn't know the guy very well, so I dunno if he initially went to a doctor, or was diagnosed by anyone of having a concussion; I also don't know if his headaches had changed (or not) in severity
Last edited by User Name on Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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by mattr

I had a concussion a few years ago. Went over a kicker on the snowboard and landed on my head.

Drove home (Do'h!) woke up the following morning with one pupil half the size of the other and feeling like death. Took me about 20 minutes to get to the doctors. Despite it being about 8 doors down the road. Kept walking into things. Had to go back every week for a month IIRC.

Was off work for a fortnight (No driving), off the road bike for two months, off the snowboard/MTB for nearer 4. Was about 3 months before i stopped getting the urge to puke if i knocked my head or hit a bump in the road.

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by jjmstang

I had a bad crash at Iron Cross in 2011 and I hit so hard it broke my helmet. I did finish the race with a splitting headache, probably not the smartest things to do. Then I drove home, another stupid move. The next day woke up with a splitting headache and went to a local emergency place. They said it was a minor concussion. The next day it was worse, went to a real hospital and was deemed a major concussion. The neurosurgeon on duty said he could feel a dent in my skull from the impact. He gave me a script for a follow up at a neurosurgeons practice. During the visit he said I was lucky to be alive and it will take time to get the headaches to subside. We started treatment with one drug and that didn't work. It took almost 6 months of trial and error to find the right drug that took my headaches away. I can see why these soldiers and athletes take their own lives, it was the most miserable time of my life and if I wouldn't have been married I would have.

Go see a neurosurgeon and don't mess around.
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by Kermithimself

Thanks for the feedback. Since my crash I have been talking regularly with my doctor. This thread was mostly to hear from other guys who have had problems from concussions, and what their recovery time was.

I know that a concussion is quite unlike any other injury you can have, since the impact is so different from case to case.

My doctor believes that the headaches are due to tensions in my neck, so I'll try some physiotherapy and massage to see if that'll help. Also, my headaches are not that "heavy" compared to what I've read others have had. I wasn't unconscious or have thrown up, which is leading the doctor to believe that there aren't any real damage to the brain.

So hopefully some physiotherapy will be the way to go.
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by Kastrup

I suffered a concussion and a minor whiplash sometime around april this year. Was doing some training laps on a XC course and slammed hard on a descent. Broke my bar, rode to a friends house and replaced it. I then went back to train some more on the descents with more minor crashes and also ended up doing the race the day after.
Drove to and from the venue both saturday and sunday. When i got home sunday i could barely move, my stomach was cramping due to a very sugary diet during the race and my head was killing me.

Convinced myself it was mostly due to the fatigue and the fluid f**k up during the race. Ended up calling in sick the following monday and it took me about a full month to fully recover. Spoke with two different doctors and they were very helpful! I was told the usual stuff about not reading and that i really had to pay attention to my head take a break whenever it started hurting.

I strongly suggest you take it real easy until you think it's completely over. Then take a week extra off to make sure everything is dandy. Get your doctor to recommend what you can and can't do training and activity wise.

Get well!

"Stay cool and try to survive" A. Klier to the other members of the Garmin classics squad the night before P-R.

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by Buffalo

I crashed at 50km/h 140km in to a 170km ride. I did smack my head pretty good cracking my helmet and getting some gnarly whiplash. I did the same as others and finished the ride back to my vehicle and drove home as well. I didn't lose consciousness or experience any vomiting, but the next day I awoke with a bad headache. I called in sick and went to work the next day but I was in a fog so I went to the hospital and was told I had a concussion. Dr said he doubted I had a brain bleed so he sent me home with a note saying I could stay home for the rest of the week. He didn't ask if I had driven myself to the hospital so I drove home too. I had headaches for about 4 days while resting. I experienced foggyness for about 2 weeks. And I was back riding in three weeks with no head aches.

One piece of advice I would offer is to tell your wife about everything, mine was out of town when this happened and I didnt want to alarm her so I didn't tell her, but she found out like 4 months later and was livid...

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by eric

Ha ha.

My wife knew because I called her to come to the hospital and bring me clothes and my insurance card. To her credit she did not freak out. I'd been on a group ride and on a descent someone at the front hit the brakes hard while I was looking off to the side. I woke up 20 minutes later covered in blood and with my front teeth smashed in. Ambulance ride to the hospital, four hours in a back brace before they determined that my neck was ok and sent me home. I only had a concussion, smashed in teeth and a broken bone in my face.

I had emergency dental work that day and root canals a couple days later. I took most of the week off work. One thing that helped my head a lot was sleeping as much as possible. For a couple weeks my brain wasn't working well- I'd get tired if I thought for too long. I worked from home and took naps in between stints of work. Since I couldn't eat well I got hungry a lot and when I did my head hurt.

It was a couple weeks before I felt like doing anything more than an easy short trainer ride. Even then it was an easy short road ride. It was a month before I started training for real.

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by User Name

This isn't too relevant here, because it was obviously much more serious, but I felt like mentioning it:
I'm pretty sure it was Serse Coppi (Fausto's brother) who crashed in a sprint finish of a race; he wasn't knock out; he felt fine enough; rode to the hotel, and it wasn't until many hours later that the severity of his head injury became apparent.

If I recall correctly, he was in a relatively remote area of Italy, and those who were looking after him couldn't get him to an adequately-equipped hospital until it was too late, and he died.
Last edited by User Name on Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by c50jim

I suffered a concussion in a crash in July 2010. I was off the bike completely for six months (in fact all exercise except walking) and only back on the trainer for the first four months, working up from 20 minutes easy at the start. I was lucky that we have good concussion specialists here (thanks to hockey and speed skating). I may have taken the doctor's advice too seriously but my concussion was severe. I have no memory for six days after the crash and my son who was with me in Italy at the time says I'd talk for five minutes about something then go right back to the start. I tried working part time after about a month and wouldn't start back that quickly again. I could tell when the weather was going to change for the first two winters after my crash and was relieved last year when I finally couldn't tell when a Chinook was coming.

During my recovery, I got a lot of information on concussion from my physiotherapist (seeing him for the pins in my back but chatted while there) since he works with national speed skaters who, particularly the short trackers, suffer these a lot.

Here's a link to a simple test they use when someone crashes and regularly thereafter.
By the first time I did the test was about three months after my crash and I think my score was in the 25-30 range. The physio told me that 100 at speed skating event for someone who's just crashed is not unusual. Even though I was only at 25 or so, the concussion doctor advised caution.

As someone said, medical advice is important and if you can find a doctor with concussion expertise, that would be great.

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