"He's done playing": Germantown father concerned over son's 3 football concussions

“He’s done playing“: Germantown father concerned over son’s 3 football concussions

BROOKFIELD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- John Tickner can still picture the play in his head; It's October 6th against Brookfield East, when his son Jack is shoved to the ground by an offensive lineman. 

Jack wiggled his feet, but couldn't stand up. 

    "When I say the athletic trainer sit him up, lay him down, and then go on her phone, I knew it wasn't good," he says. 

Jack, a Freshman, was loaded onto a stretcher and taken away in an ambulance. At the hospital, he was diagnosed with his 3rd concussion in just over a year.

    "In the ER, there were things he couldn't remember of the game. He didn't remember what quarter, he didn't remember the score." 

Jack says his concussion symptoms lasted for more 3 weeks, impacting his social life and ability to focus in school. 

    "It makes everything much harder for you," he says. "I was always tired and didn't have energy to do anything with friends or family. It was hard to just move around without getting a major headache or nauseous." 

His father was left with a difficult decision. 

    "At that point, I decided, he's done with football," says John. "With each progression of the concussions, each one gets worse. It's like, what's going to happen with concussion number 4?" 

It's a decision facing parents across Wisconsin, according to Dr. Patrick Lehman. 

The Pediatrician at Children's Hospital says he sees children with concussions practically every day. Most are sports related.

    "It's one of those things where we like to assess kids on a case-by-case basis, and make decisions based on how long the symptoms last."

Dr. Lehman says in most cases, parents shouldn't worry about the impacts of a concussion long term. 

    "There isn't any data that shows kids will have long term effects from concussions," he says. "There's actually a study that looked at band players vs high school football players, and there weren't any differences between those two groups." 

That study is backed by another, recently posted on the WIAA website.

    "Just because a child has 3 or 4 concussions, doesn't necessarily mean they're going to be at a high risk for having long term effects in the future," says Dr. Lehman.

Doctors say serious complications become much more common if a child sustains a 2nd concussion, before recovering from the 1st. That's why it's important to immediately stop playing a sport if concussion symptoms arise. 

Tickner says until more research is done, his son will have to focus on other sports. 

    "Football's done, he's done with football." 

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