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A right clout on the noggin...

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I was in Les Arcs last week with 3 others and had a great time - fab snow, generally great conditions, etc. However, on the Monday, I seem to have taken a bit of a wallop to the old bonce. I say "seem to have" as I don't actually have any recollection of what happened!

We'd been boarding all morning and were heading back to the apartment for lunch. I was following my nephew down a run but when he got to the bottom, I was no longer behind him. He waited a few minutes and when I didn't appear, he phoned me...but no answer. Some 15 minutes later, I appear on my snowboard looking slightly spaced out. We headed back into the apartment (where we'd been staying for the previous 2 days) and I (apparently!) was coming out with things like "I don't recognise this place!" and "how long have we been here?". I was also apparently complaining of a stiff neck and saying that I thought I must have hit my head. I was then repeating myself every couple of minutes, asking the same questions over and over, and also being unable to answer some fairly simple questions about things that had happened not that long ago...at which point it became rather more apparent to the other members of the party that something wasn't quite right. So, off to the resort docs we go...where I apparently kept up with the questions (where are we? Have I hit my head? How d'you know I've hit my head? etc). Somewhat unsurprisingly, the resort doc said I needed to go to hospital and get a scan to make sure nothing serious had occurred. So after a rather pricey taxi journey I had the full head scan treatment, examination, etc. The doc there seemed to think there was no permanent or serious damage...and just recommended that I rest and take it easy for a day or two.

Even now, my memory of the whole day is, at best, very very limited. I can remember being at the top of one of the runs earlier in the morning and snapping a couple of pics on my phone, but after that the only other things I can remember are a few sketchy details about being at the docs and the hospital...everything else is a complete blank. Oh...and Austin Healey turned up in the hospital while we were there (which was confirmed by my g/f...so I didn't imagine it! Laughing)

The strange thing is, my helmet shows absolutely no signs whatsoever of any kind of bump...not even the slightest scrape/scuff mark. I'd have thought that if I'd smacked my head hard enough to obliterate some short term memory and addle my brain for a few hours, it would have made a bit of an impression somewhere on the helmet? But then I'm no expert in head injuries or helmets, so maybe not Smile

I am super intrigued to know what happened...did I simply mess up and wipe out? Or did I hit someone/something? Or did someone hit me? I realise that head injuries are rather unique and will vary from one person to the next, but I'm just wondering if anyone else has had any similar sort of injury that resulted in memory loss? And if so, did the memory ever come back?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I watched the all new X-Files last night and I'm pretty certain you have in fact experienced an alien abduction.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

The strange thing is, my helmet shows absolutely no signs whatsoever of any kind of bump...not even the slightest scrape/scuff mark.

Some kind of black out then? Think I'd go and recount all that to my GP.
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midgetbiker wrote:
I watched the all new X-Files last night and I'm pretty certain you have in fact experienced an alien abduction.


You're not the first person to suggest this...but I'm pretty sure I haven't been probed Laughing
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@slicendice, happened a few years ago to a friend. Was skiing with OH, they got separated, he was found 10 minutes later somewhat disoriented. Pisteurs got him to hospital (we have a local facility with appropriate scanners). No apparent damage. No recollection of the most of the day after putting his skis on.

No after effects, no memories returned though.
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Second hand - a friend had an accident coming off a kicker and ended up colliding with another rider (moral of that story is don't poach other peoples jumps) and still has a big black 24hour hole in his memory of that day. We had to leave him in hospital overnight for observation as he wasn't *right* until morning. He was acting very similarly to the way you were, confusion; unable to keep any short term memories.

Sounds like you maybe caught a heel edge and got whammed into the deck. If someone else had been involved they'd have probably been hurt too. I'd not trust that helmet if it has taken a good hit - there may be damage you can't see to the inner core.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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Exact same thing happened to my dad a few years back, he wasn't wearing a helmet and had goldfish memory for a few hours, the same phrases repeated over and over etc. I didn't see the accident but others told me he fell and hit his head, there were no bruises or cuts though that I could see. This and the lack of damage to your helmet are consistent with the idea that you probably don't need to hit your head too hard to cause a concussion. Compare this with a guy I went with this year who had a big dent on his helmet from being caught by the chair lift but brushed this off as an annoyance.

We went to the medical centre and ended up being helicoptered from the village to Aosta Hospital. He was totally fine the next day though but still has no memory of the accident. I doubt you are ever going to remember what happened.

Side point: he thought he was properly insured but the helicopter ride wasn't covered so he ended up shelling out a few grand, always check the small print!
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Genepi Toofy Grin
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I did something similar a few years ago, while a very beginner skier. All memories eventually came back except for the actual fall itself, but I still remember the awful disorientation at the time, and knowing that my brain wasn't working right, but not being able to work out why or what was going on! I knew I had to be somewhere, but I couldn't remember where or why. And I knew I was on holiday with people, but I couldn't remember who any of them were either. Fortunately a friend was right beside me and got me off the hill and looked after me.

I was wearing a helmet, not a mark on it... That doesn't mean that internal damage to the clever foam stuff (technical term NehNeh ) that's meant to degrade instead of your head hasn't been done though, and you should change the helmet anyway.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
What a horrendous experience ....Austin Healey turning up! Madeye-Smiley

Seriously, though, nasty. I did something similar in Cervinia 30-odd years ago (pre-helmet days, of course)and the sensation of not quite knowing whether it was Easter or Christmas was frightening to be honest. Luckily for me, the skiers who found me mumbling away at the side of the piste were four American doctors who were kind enough to look after me and made sure I got down the mountain safely. Happily right as rain after a trip to the surgery and a good night's kip.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Tue 9-02-16 16:50; edited 1 time in total
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slicendice wrote:
midgetbiker wrote:
I watched the all new X-Files last night and I'm pretty certain you have in fact experienced an alien abduction.


You're not the first person to suggest this...but I'm pretty sure I haven't been probed Laughing


More seriously addressing your question:

I have concussed myself twice whilst wearing a helmet, once skiing (a light concussion), once throwing a track bike away out of a chicane (a more serious concussion but not as bad as you're describing). In both case the helmets were totaled despite being top spec, each had completely lost it's structural rigidity at the point of impact (no doubt doing an admirable impact absorption job as they lost it).

On the other hand I can well imagine an awkward but relatively light blow causing serious (if temporary) effects without damaging (visibly) the lid.

One question: have you had (or may you have had without realising) other trauma to your brain/head over the years. I think repetition leads to propensity for these things, so ergo a lighter blow having more serious effects.

One observation: if you are pretty sure you did have a significant blow to the head/helmet then you might consider changing the helmet even if it looks untouched. The inner part of the helmet is a compressible material designed to compress (believe it or not) in an accident and so slow down the deceleration of the brain within the skull. Once compressed in an incident the material loses its efficacy.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Rohipnol? Shocked
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Post traumatic Amnesia over 30 minutes is an indication for CT brain (in an adult). Diffuse axonal injury may well not be visible on scan (CT) which is looking to exclude a bleed. Had the same playing rugby. can be a blunt bump to the head. In kids, quite mild facial impact can trigger PTA. This type of Head injury is more concussive than anything else
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
So he was right all along. Austin Healey really is the messiah, and goes around hospitals curing people...
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
A similar thing happened to my BiL, a beginner, who left it too late to let go of a button lift, was lifted off the ground then fell backwards. He was wearing a helmet which wasn't marked. He couldn't remember, was woozy, was vomiting - but your episode sounds quite a lot worse. Went to doctor who diagnosed mild concussion and gave me instructions about what to look out for, and to call an ambulance to take him to hospital in Albertville if he got worse.

I'd dump the helmet.... as advised above.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Recently returned from a very intense, very cold & very windy bike ride with no recollection of how I got home. Few basic probing questions from the other half (name of prime minister, who won the rugby world cup, in which country is your daughter working... etc) determined that a visit to A&E was in order. Whilst there I had no short term memory (thought that I had been in there for approx 45min when in fact I had been there over 4 hours and I could still not answer basic questions from the doc). Stroke team mobilised to check for signs along with BP, ECG & CAT Scan. Everything checked out OK. After much deliberation I was diagnosed as having an episode of Transient Global Amnesia which can be brought on by strenuous exercise. Still missing most of that Saturday, but everything else resolved itself within 24hours. Now awaiting an appt with local Neuro hospital to verify initial findings. Bit scary on the day but there seems to be no lasting ill effects.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@slicendice, …I'm yet another person logging in with the same experience - exactly the same symptoms after a hard fall mountain-biking on the South Downs. Black hole amnesia for 8 hours. Came round (i.e. became rational and aware rather than a wild-eyed maniac repeating obsessive questions) when someone asked if I wanted a cheese sandwich - at which point the consultant said 'Ah…you're back…we've been a bit worried about you…'.

Key issue I want to add is that ROTATIONAL brain injury is the more damaging kind - where the brain rotates in the skull - and this can occur at energy levels which leave the helmet undamaged. Helmets are usually optimised for direct impact - only MIPS helmets are designed to minimise rotational brain injury. I have posted in detail previously on the research and dynamics of rotational brain injury, which is an increasingly recognised problem in skiing, and you can access that through search.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Some interesting stories here...seems I'm not the only one with a bit of a hole in the old memory!

I have had a rubbish neck for many years (I think probably as a result of both a back injury and whiplash some years ago) so it does tend to be quite stiff at the best of times. So maybe my neck isn't as capable of absorbing impact (not sure if that's the correct term) as a "normal" neck? My neck was very stiff after the incident (and still is if I'm honest...even more so than usual), very much like a whiplash type of thing...which would suggest that, even if my head didn't actually impact with anything particularly hard, it was whipped around a bit and could have resulted in the old brain boogie?

Guess I'll never know for sure...but at least I've stopped asking the same questions over and over (although I do drop a few out every now and then...just to wind up the g/f Laughing)
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@slicendice, Whilst I haven't suffered the amnesia side after a big fall, I have most certainly had whiplash. Around ten yrs ago we we're a little late in getting the last lifts and links back to resort, we could see the liftie beginning to close the chair down so schussed from rather high up. I hit a number of compressions that I simply couldn't absorb, after what felt like a real battle to retain control I ended up cart-wheeling across the slopes. Net result was whiplash, fortunately a group member made it to the lift and the liftie kept it open whilst I collected my ski and gingerly made it back to the chair.
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Quote:

That doesn't mean that internal damage to the clever foam stuff (technical term ) that's meant to degrade instead of your head hasn't been done though, and you should change the helmet anyway.


+1
The two times my bike helmets have been called into use they were clearly mashed but ski helmets tend to have a thicker shell and I suspect the crushing could be internal to that
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@valais2, I'm absolutely sold on the MIPS system ever since I watched POCs presentation on it - I know that when it comes time to buy a new helmet, it'll have the MIPS system baked in.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@slicendice,

your description sounds potentially quite serious.

The brain is very easily injured by the deceleration especially when coupled by rapid rotation of the head.

Even if you have no headaches or obvious neurological problems it is quite possible to suffer with after effects such as loss of concentration, emotional upset etc.

You should have a very low threshold for getting your self checked out.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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Just another +1 to the story. Boarding in Argentina, remember having a hard slam heelside then nothing until I woke up buying myself a hot chocolate in a restaurant 15 mins or so later. Helmet showed no obvious damage.
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Definitely a few issues with concentration and memory. Trying to concentrate on anything at the moment is really challenging and things that should not take very long to do are taking a while to complete. And my memory really didn't need any set backs...it was already pretty rubbish! Went to the cash machine the other day but I managed to completely lose the money I took out - no clue what happened to it, but it wasn't in any pockets, wallet, etc. I know I had it when I got back to the car, but after that...no idea.

I went to the doc yesterday and she said that it wasn't anything to worry about as these are common symptoms of concussion but they could last for a few weeks...or even months! Confused She said the things to watch out for are headaches, vomiting and difficulties with sight and/or speech. And tbh I've not really had any of these...slight nausea and bit of a headache behind the eyes sometimes but nothing bad.

Still absolutely no recollection at all of most of the day it happened; I was hoping maybe some of it would start to come back, but apparently not.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
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@slicendice, Thats interesting - You lost short term memory after performing a complex repetitive task (driving the car). This is pretty typical. Your doctor is right, take things slowly for a couple of weeks, try to avoid fast, complex tasks whenever possible while you're in this state. Basically, the best thing is plenty of rest and to just sleep it off.

The charity Headway list the following as potential side effects from concussion, which can last for a couple of weeks after the incident, but, as always, if you have concerns see your GP, and you should see your doctor if you've still got symptoms after 2 weeks.

• Headaches
• Irritability
• Feelings of dizziness
• Restlessness
• Nausea
• Impulsivity and self-control problems
• Sensitivity to light or noise
• Difficulties with concentration
• Sexual difficulties
• Feeling depressed, tearful or anxious
• Sleep disturbance
• Fatigue
• Memory problems
• Difficulties thinking and problem-solving
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@Richard_Sideways Thanks for that - I've never heard of Headway before but I'll certainly check it out. Looks like they have some useful info on their website
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