NEW Fall: Josef

Josef was 12 years old when he suffered a brain injury after falling off his scooter. Mum Carlie tells us what happened.

Published: January 2019. Date of brain injury: September 2017 (child aged 12 years). Joe was 12 years old when he fell of his scooter and fractured his skull in two places. This resulted in a blood clot and a craniotomy to remove the clot. 
Josef in hospital
Initially I was terrified Joe was going to die. Then there were a few very stressful days while waiting to see if the operation was successful and how the injury would impact Joe. The doctors literally saved Joe’s life.

After the injury 

Josef in hospital
Joe has been amazing – he was back to his sports (with a helmet on) within six months. But the lasting effects are invisible such as tiredness, mood swings, lack of filter when tired, headaches and sinus issues. Initially everyone was really supportive. However, a year on we struggle a little with school as Joe can be fine for some weeks and then struggle – so we often find that school thinks his issues are choices.

Coping with fatigue

One of the remaining effects of the brain injury is fatigue and this is difficult as Joe is a very energetic lad. I try to explain to school about Joe taking longer to get up some mornings but the school isn’t always understanding (he gets detention for lateness a lot). We embrace the scars and use humour a lot. Joe says what he feels – and close family understand his lack of filter.

Looking forward

I expect Joe will learn to accept his uniqueness as he gets older. If I could give one piece of advice or encouragement to other parents who have a child who suffered a brain injury I’d say I should have accessed ongoing support sooner –  a year later it’s hard regarding education. Since I found out more about the information available I’ve been able to access leaflets that I can give to school to hopefully educate them a little bit more on the lasting effects of a traumatic brain injury. I’ve also been able to show Joe lots of information to help him understand that the fatigue/moods that he suffers from is ‘normal’ after an injury, so as a family that knowledge has helped us to ‘normalise’ the experience. I also know there is help there for myself if I need it. Joe is happy and is still scooter mad! He is 13 years old now and he spends time out with his friends, often at the local skatepark perfecting his tricks then sharing his love of scooting on Instagram. Joe has kept the same friends; he’s very sociable. Where he rides he will often show children his scar if they don’t have a helmet on. He accepts his scar mostly now and doesn’t try to hide it. The Brain Injury Hub’s series of books and resources aimed at children and families can be ordered here. Find out more about The Children’s Trust’s Brain Injury Community Service.
Josef scooting
Josef scooting
Joe back on his scooter at his local skatepark
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