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    Patient Stories
    Sutter Children's Center, Sacramento

    Luke - Return to Play Safely

    Luke -
    Luke - Return to Play Safely

    Ten-year-old Luke was geared up with his cleats and helmet and ready to play lacrosse in his backyard. Running to make a catch, Luke went from the grass to the driveway and his feet flew out from underneath him. The back of Luke’s head hit the concrete.

    “He was out of sorts and unable to gather himself,” said Anne, Luke’s mother. “All he could say was that his head hurt. I immediately got his physician on the phone.”

    On the advice of her physician, Anne and her husband, Jerry, took Luke to the emergency department, where they ran a CT and a few tests. The physician suggested Luke stay home from school for a few days.

    “When Luke went back to school three days later, he was still groggy and then started developing tics,” said Anne. “He couldn’t control them, it was very scary. I started calling my friends to get a referral to a neurologist.”

    Luke was referred to the Concussion Clinic at Sutter Neuroscience Institute and had a consultation with Michael G. Chez, M.D., medical director of Pediatric Neurology. Dr. Chez put Luke through a number of neurological tests, including a balance assessment, and ordered an MRI. After the evaluation, Dr. Chez prescribed steroids and pain medication to reduce the inflammation in Luke’s brain to help with the tics and his frequent headaches. And at the recommendation of Dr. Chez, Luke stayed home from school for almost two months and had very limited stimulation, including no television or video games.

    “Luke’s primary effects from the concussion weren’t visible,” said Anne. “He had headaches and needed several naps daily during his early recovery. And he had really bad balance. But he didn’t have any cognitive impairment, so it was hard to explain his injuries to other people. As he recovered, thankfully Luke’s school and school district were able to ease him back into the classroom with home instruction and short days. We learned a lot about traumatic brain injury from Dr. Chez and helped to educate others about the importance of taking time to allow the brain to heal completely.”

    With the support from his family and the Concussion Clinic, Luke was cleared for play four months after his concussion. And within weeks he was back on the swim team and even qualified for the championship meet.

    “The doctor’s evaluations and detailed care plan focused on his every ability,” said Anne. “Had we not sought out Dr. Chez, I know the outcome wouldn’t be the same.”

    While Luke was recovering he talked with his uncle, who is a physician for the U.S. Army. He learned a lot about traumatic brain injury and how the Army evaluates and treats soldiers. Luke learned about high-tech ISO balance boards (such as balance boards, according to Luke) and their use in helping those who have suffered a concussion. Because of his connection with Dr. Chez, Luke wrote a letter thanking Dr. Chez for the care, and also describing how this technology could help future concussion patients in Sacramento. 


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