As the riders disappeared around the curve of the track, Dave Brown’s son, Corey, was out in front. A 12-year motocross veteran, Corey had been riding since he was four.
When the riders came back around, however, Dave could no longer spot his son in the pack. Soon after, he saw an official raise the signature white and red-crossed flag — someone was injured on the track. Corey had fallen and hit his head on another rider’s back wheel as he went down. Even with the proper helmet and equipment, he had a broken nose, among other injuries. But worst of all, he suffered a severe concussion.
Although a CT scan showed his brain was OK, Corey was unfortunately all too familiar with concussions — this was his third. So as a precaution, the Brown family went to see Frederick W. Parker III, MD, family and sports medicine specialist at Novant Health UVA Health System Bull Run Family Medicine.
“We offer comprehensive analysis, having expertise (from) seeing many concussions, knowing the spectrum of symptoms and being able to deal with them,” said Dr. Parker. A test showed Corey had severe impairment, but he started to improve over the next few weeks. A month after the accident, Corey was having difficulty in school. “It was hard to concentrate,” he said. “I was constantly getting headaches and was tired all the time.”
He cut back his schedule, but shortly after the new year, he was homebound full-time. Corey continued to work with Dr. Parker up until July in order to reach the right combination of therapy, medication and schoolwork done at home.
Dr. Parker said education among parents, coaches, schools and athletes is key in bringing more awareness to concussions. “I don’t think we can prevent concussions in athletics,” he said. “The important thing is recognition of symptoms so that the athlete doesn’t keep playing.”
While it has been a difficult year, Corey, now 17, is getting better. “I don’t feel 100 percent,” he said, “but I feel a lot better.” Motocross is not on his agenda anytime soon, but he did return to a full academic schedule at the start of this school year.