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My foreign exchange student and son (both 12) were wrestling

in the living room tonight...
My foreign exchange student and son (both 12) were wrestling in the living room tonight standing up. They locked legs and both crashed to the ground(albeit a softly carpeted ground). The exchange student fell with his upper back on my sons arm and the back of his head on the carpeted floor. My concern is that he was crying for about 20 or 30 minutes afterwards and said he had a headache. He didn't seem confused, didn't lose consciousness but did say he didn't feel like eating dinner, clutched his stomach and went to bed and to sleep soon after. I just woke him up after several hours to check on him and he says his headache is getting better. I don't feel any bumps on his head either. It's late at night and I hate to wake him up take him to the emergency room needlessly, or keeping waking him up all night in case he has a concussion, especially on a school night, if all is fine. If he had a concussion wouldn't he have more obvious symptoms such as vomiting or confusion? Am I right in thinking it's unlikely to be a serious injury falling from bodily height onto a nicely carpeted floor? I just feel so responsible since he is new to us, speaks limited English and is entrusted into our care. We have forbidden wrestling from now on between the two so hopefully this won't come up again. I'd just appreciate some validation if I am right in my thought process about this.
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
10/1/2012
Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 34,468
Experience: Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
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Right after the fall did he get right up and for the moment seem OK? When did he begin complaining of the headache and how is he now--alert, knows where he is and what time it is, etc?

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Well, he started crying immediately after the fall and stayed laying there for about 30 minutes crying with ice on his head. He was certainly alert and able to show me where he hurt. Unfortunately his English is so limited it is hard for me to tell complete symptoms - ie dizziness. He went up to bed for a while - we called him down for dinner. He seemed a little wobbly at that time and held his stomach and said he didn't want to eat. I woke him up about 3 hours after the incident and he seems sleepy but coherent and said he's feeling better. Just wanted to double check if I need to wake him up more during the night or get him checked further tonight.

OK. Of course I understand your concern here. Some points--he wasn't knocked out and responded (by crying instead of acting groggy) right away. He communicated properly and is still communicating. You were able to wake him up which indicates that he was just sleeping. In general, a blow to the head sufficient to cause a subdural hemorrhage would take a blow that rendered the patient unconscious for at least several minutes and after than he would be groggy and disoriented for a while. All said, I think he'll be fine for the night but I would suggest that he be seen by a doctor in the morning just to check him over and make sure that he's neurologically intact--no evidence of any significant brain contusion or concussion.
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Thanks so much for the advice Dr. Chip. Have a good night.

Blessings. Valerie

My pleasure Valerie but please let me know how he does and remember to rate my service to you
Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
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