One summer day, 14-year-old Owen Mathieson was out playing soccer with his friends when he was suddenly hit in the head with the ball.
When he started feeling “woosy and a bit giddy,” The Sun reports that the teenager went home to sit down for a bit. He took painkillers and hoped he could sleep off the pain.
However, one week later he woke up with a “big lump” over his left eye. His mom, Maria, rushed him to the hospital. The doctors gave him painkillers and sent him on his way, mistaking the boy’s “severe headaches and high temperatures for a concussion.”
Owen’s condition worsened. Maria recalled:
“By that night, the pain was unbearable for him and the painkillers weren’t working at all. His bed was wet with sweat, he had a high temperature and didn’t like the light in his eyes. There was no way I could watch him suffer any longer so I took him back to hospital.”
The teen was airlifted to a different hospital where a CT scan revealed he had “suffered a bleed on the brain.” He was scheduled for emergency surgery. Maria said:
“He started to lose his speech by that morning he couldn’t say a word at all. It was agonising. He said ‘Mum, I can’t feel my arm or my leg.'”
She explained that her son’s right side was paralyzed.The Sun/Facebook
Owen was given 59 staples in his head during surgery. He had to undergo eight weeks of physiotherapy to “retrain his right arm and leg.” Maria said:
“It was so scary, knowing he could die in the operation and seeing him in so much pain. He went downhill so quickly and couldn’t remember what happened. His infection levels were in the hundreds. The norm is under five. It was so traumatic for the entire family.”
More and more kids are starting to play competitive sports in the United States, beginning as early as age seven, according to Nationwide Children’s. Sports injuries are the second-leading cause of emergency room visits for children, with approximately three million kids seen in emergency rooms each year.
If your child gets injured during sports, Nationwide Children’s recommends the “R.I.C.E.” treatment plan, meaning: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. The first step is seeing a doctor for professional advice. Continuing to monitor the injury is also key. A repeat visit to the doctor may be necessary if changes occur.
It never hurts to trust your gut instinct. Maria believes her son “might not be here today” had she followed the advice of the first doctors.
After missing a full term of school and being banned from physical activity for a full year, Owen is expected to make a full recovery. Maria said:
“I hope to make other families aware if they do have the same sort of symptoms after a knock on the head. Then go to hospital and demand a CT scan and get blood tests done. A simple thing as a blood test can find out so much.”
Maria’s friends and colleagues set up a fundraising page to help raise money to support Owen’s recovery. To donate, visit their JustGiving page here.