Hey Manager of a concussed person, read this!

A checklist to effectively lead someone who just got an mTBI

Photo by Tuce on Unsplash

Okay, someone on your team just got a concussion. What should you expect?

What can you do to help?

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

1. Time Off

2. Reorganize workload

3. Real Talk

  • How are you feeling? Are you feeling more emotional? Irritable? This is normal, their brain chemicals are completely jumbled up right now.
  • Are you getting headaches? Almost everyone gets a lot of headaches. They are usually worse at first (sometimes lasting many days).
  • Are you having trouble following conversations or remembering words? Do you find yourself spacing out? Expect conversations with a concussed person to be slow and clunky.
  • Do normal tasks feel like they take an insane amount of effort and focus right now? Talking about this will help them feel less crazy or embarrassed about the fact that making a smoothie took them 30 minutes and the sound of the blender made them wince…
  • When you’re resting, what do you do? Many people, myself included, have completely forgotten how to rest, like REALLY rest. When you flop down on your couch to “rest” what are the top things you do? I’ll put money on the fact that it’s either grabbing your phone, flipping open your laptop, or throwing Netflix on. All these activities, believe it or not, represent an intense cognitive load (you only realize this once you brain is damaged and working at a fraction of its normal capacity). Brainstorm some things that they could do to “really rest” and let their brain shut-off or wander (and heal!). My favourite resting trick is taking long baths with soft lighting (candles are good for concussed person care packages). If I get too bored, chill music or an audiobook is perfect.
  • Are you having trouble falling asleep, or are you waking up in the middle of the night? Issues with sleep are quite common and intensify all the other symptoms the next day. It’s especially cruel, because concussed people need SO much sleep to heal. Even at the five month mark I sleep 9–10 hours a night. At the beginning I was napping every day and sleeping 12 hours at night. It was astonishing how much time my brain wanted to be asleep, but it makes total sense — that is the best time for the body to repair itself.
  • Are you feeling sensitive to bright lights (like the fluorescent lights in the office) or noise (like open offices or restaurants)? These symptoms surprised me, and are one of the reasons why working from home can be so helpful when it’s an option.
  • What do you feel like in the morning? How does it change throughout the day? This gets the conversation started for what will eventually lead into creating a gradual return to work plan.

4. Counselling or Therapy?

5. Schedule 1:1 Meetings

6. Non-Computer Work

7. Start Back Slowly

8. Take Breaks Seriously

9. Rehab?

10. Be Ready for Ups and Downs

11. Get Educated

Photo by 2Photo Pots on Unsplash

For the keeners, here are some big picture things to consider in your business:

  1. Does your company have a policy for supporting people through injuries, something like a short-term disability plan?
  2. Does your company intentionally cultivate a culture that opens dialogue about mental health issues?
  3. Do your extended health care benefits cover counselling/therapy?
  4. Do your extended health care benefits cover paramedical disciplines like physiotherapy?



Operations Leader | Creator | www.devondebalasibrown.com | www.flustergame.com

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