Child Recovers from Severe Concussion to Get Back to School, Sports

September 10, 2019

Matthew Tripp was playing quarterback in a football game when a jarring blow to the head changed his life.

Attempting to scramble away from defenders, Matthew, who was 10 years old at the time, endured a helmet-to-helmet hit, resulting in a severe concussion and whiplash.

It was a scary time for the Tripp family. How do we get him better? Where do we go? What is the timeline?

“I guess I never really understood the magnitude of a concussion,” says his mother, Melissa Tripp, of Breinigsville, Pennsylvania. “It just opened our eyes.”

Within days of his diagnosis, Matthew had an initial evaluation at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network in Allentown, Pennsylvania. It was the beginning of Matthew’s seven-month journey to recovery.

Concussion Treatment Tailored to a Child

Springing into action, Good Shepherd’s team tailored a concussion rehabilitation program specifically for Matthew. The team addressed two major challenges right away: Matthew’s balance and vision. He was experiencing headaches and dizziness, especially during physical activity and schoolwork.

As part of recovery, Matthew faced the added frustration of no screen time, no recess, no gym class, no reading, no quizzes or tests — common things a 10-year-old boy is accustomed to doing.

“It was a roller coaster of emotions,” says Melissa.

However, Matthew worked hard to improve his vision and balance. Much of his therapy focused on sports-specific activities. He also received speech and neck therapy. To help with school, Matthew was prescribed special prism glasses for headaches and dizziness.

‘100 Percent Back to Himself’

After four months of incremental progress, Matthew one day started showing signs of a significant breakthrough.

“My eyes don’t hurt as much anymore,” Melissa remembers Matthew telling her one day. When Matthew noticed the change in his health, it was a mood lifter, says Melissa, and he kept progressing.

After seven months, Matthew was discharged successfully from Good Shepherd, just in time to enjoy a full summer.

“It was amazing to see,” says Melissa. “As a parent, it was so hard to see him struggle. He was 100 percent back to himself.”

Back to Being Active

While he no longer plays football, Matthew, now 11, is focusing on other sports — basketball and baseball, in particular. He’s a point guard for his local youth basketball team. On the baseball diamond, he likes shortstop, centerfield and pitcher. Matthew’s doing well in school, too.

“I fully, truly believe Matthew wouldn’t get back to full health without Good Shepherd,” says Melissa. “I honestly can’t even put into words how thankful I am.”

For more information on how Good Shepherd can help you or a loved one with a concussion, call 1-888-44-REHAB or contact us online.