Sleep after head injury for my 12 year old

Hi, hoping you can help. My son had a head injury at school about 6 weeks ago; fractured skull and minor bleed. HDU and then ward - out of hospital after 5 days and advised he could go to school after two weeks. He went back to school, but I've had to take him out, as he gets so tired. Sometimes I just can't rouse him in the mornings at all.

I've been advised that this is 'normal' and should settle down. Has anyone else had any similar experiences? Many thanks.

21 Replies

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  • Hi bex

    I think most of us would agree that sleep is vital but if you are worried then contact the GP.

    Could you also approach the school and ask if he can just do an hour in the afternoon for a while and slowly increase the amount of time he spends in school?

    Love n hugs

    Xoxox

  • Thanks random. Sad to say that the GP AND the hospital have not been great with post care advice. But yes, gradually increasing the time is how we should progress. The difficulty I'm having, as a single parent, is how I keep my job through this time! But that's another story...

  • I suspect that's being a bit optimistic in terms of time, I am much older, but I had broadly similar injury, fractured back of skull from the top left hand to bottom right, with two minor bleeds.

    clearly at 12 he should have a much faster recovery, but tiredness is normal and expected.

    i'd suggest contacting the GP and seeing if you can't get some more support.

    two weeks is very early days even for young.

    maybe see if the school could try a phased return so he could build it up. it's what work did for me, which worked well started at 3hrs a week now full time.

  • i bealive theres a child brain injury asscoitaion,maybe you should get in touch with them,fatiuge is a very common smytom of b,i i concur with all the other comments above,and hope youre he gets well soon

  • Thanks so much. That's extremely useful - just to know that it's 'normal' has set my mind at rest. He wants to go back to school for the last week (that's next week) but perhaps we'll try afternoons only. How long did it take for you to build back up to full speed?

  • bare in mind every brain injury is different, both in severity and what it effects.

    while I'm fit and healthy I was 38 when it happened, and though I've had/having a very good recovery GP's use words such as "high functioning" but for myself back up to something like what I was by 6 months (ish) even now 1 year 8 months there are differences and damage, and mild improvement month on month.

    your son has age on his side, other than tired any thing else?

  • No - occasionally some weakness in arms and legs but this only occurs when very tired. Docs seem to think it's normal. Thanks so much - hearing your story is really helpful. What happened to you?

  • I was left for work on the bike, and was found in Bushy Park unconscious. in other words a fall.

    the reasons why are unknown, lacking any other possibilities, there are no cars etc. probably I lost control of the bike, in the end the reason is not important.

    spent 3 days in hospital and another month and half at home, at first I was very wobbly and still fairly confused and so very tired. I remember little from that time.

    I was hard work at that time, since I was trying to do far more than I should have, my wife bless her endured a lot.

    But slowly I recovered and started phased return to work and things became a virtues circle.

    I do still get tired and few other niggling things but I'm very close to where I was.

    How did your son get a fractured skull?

  • So glad you are (almost) recovered. The Head at my son's school had a similar experience on his bike - was found at the side of the road, no memory of the accident. Must have been scary for you.

    My son jumped into an iron door frame and fell backwards, cracking his head on the steps. It was the steps that did the most damage, fracturing his skull in two places. Silly twit.

    He doesn't remember it either, but he's very tall for his age and I suspect he saw one of his smaller friends jump down the steps - and when he did it, he misjudged his height. Just a simple thing.

    With the summer hols coming, Ben will have had three months off, and I'm hoping that will be enough for him to certainly start going back to school in some form or another.

    Thanks again for all your help. x

  • I have a faint memory, not sure where probably A&E of kind calm, in control voices and I felt calm? I apparently didn't like the neck braces my wifes says.

    I'm sure it was painful and scary but I don't remember that. my wife suffered more around that time, with will i be the same? will I love her still and so on.

  • Fatigue is an expected problem after a brain injury. Look at the childbraininjury.org.uk website and make contact with them for advise and reassurance. But I agree to start with it needs to be very limited time in school and gradually increased.

    Best wishes

  • Thanks Strawberry - that's really useful. I didn't know of their site before, but have had a look and will give them a call.

  • Sorry just realised I think I've slightly got the contact wrong - it's the Child Brain Injury Trust so childbraininjurytrust.org.uk. They have downloadable fact sheets, helpline and other support. Hope you find it useful.

  • It's ok - I found it! Thank you xxx

  • there's not much i can add, only for it to be said again that i think that brain fatigue is so very common (i'm new to commenting here), and brain fatigue is very different from just fatigue, as i'm sure you'd know, and although i'm not best clued up, this does see m like extremely early days. if you havent already perhaps you could phone headway, (whatever ive phoned with, theyve always been great). again , im sure you;d know to get any factsheets to your son's teachers, and perhaps the head. perhaps youve seen the bit about brain fatigue in the headway booklet the effects of brain injury, i dont know how much this would apply to children..all the best

  • Thanks Eleanor. I haven't looked at the literature yet - will do so. x

  • Also talk to school about flexi-schooling -like working from home. Your employer should be able to be flexible in the short term too and it would make sense to get that formally agreed.

  • Thank you. After some initial trouble, work have been pretty flexible and I now have a good chunk of time off. Am worried about what happens in september - but I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

  • The neuropsychologist I saw said that with any type of brain injury tiredness and fatigue are really common. Not just the I'm feeling tired or worn out but the zonk I'm gone type.

    Apparently because there is damage to the brain it try's to protect itself when we get tired and starts to shut down all the less important functions to protect itself from further damage or to reduce it's own 'tiredness'. As the brain fixes itself with new pathways or nerve repair then it needs to protect itself less and the tiredness should become less.

    The younger you are the more adaptable the brain is because it is still growing new cells and forming new pathways.

    Every brain injury is very individual as all of our brains are wired slightly differently so the effect of injury isn't always predictable and so prediction of progress is equally unpredictable and for your son it is still very early days.

    Try not to worry too much and if you are really concerned try ringing or messaging your consultants secretary with your concerns. The consultant is a specialist and will also be more informed and knowledgeable about the actual injuries caused to your son and so possibly far more reassuring than the GP can be.

    Hope this is of some comfort and helps to lessen your concerns but it is an opinion not a medical statement.

    Hope thing improve for your son soon and that his progress will speed as he improves.

  • Thank you so much, Sporan. I read your reply out to my son, who said, "What a nice person, taking the time to write that!" So thank you, from both of us. xxx

  • Bit late - sorry. Fatigue is a problem. I was 17 when I decided a little intercranial fun was the way to go.

    The first year or so was very problematical with sleep and the medication I was on - buckets of the stuff - wasn't conducive to staying awake either.

    Hope this helps. Now, 48 years on, I'm lucky if I get 4 hrs sleep a night.

    Best of luck.

    Paul

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