On Sunday, my younger son had a rare rugby tournament. As a football coach, my husband wasn’t particularly happy about this because, with my son and two other players taking part in the rugby tournament, it would almost inevitably leave his football team very short of players. (Coaches need to give four weeks’ notice to cancel a game, unless it’s due to pitch conditions. Cancelling the game at short notice would have meant they would have been fined and had points docked.)
There were other minor worries on top of that. The day before had been very cold and very wet. I was worried about whether my son would wrap up warm and keep dry. He’s an awkward teenager who refuses to wear tracksuit bottoms or leggings.
Thinking about he cold and the wet, the muscular aches and the knocks he would inevitably take, I said to my daughter: “He won’t be at school tomorrow”. He had at least three days off sick from school last year as a direct result of rugby.
I also had to think about who would stay at home with my daughter and who would take my eldest to work. Oh, and I’d committed to helping out at my niece’s birthday party, so I couldn’t stay at the rugby all day. And with my husband sticking with his football coaching commitments, I wasn’t sure how my son would even get home from rugby.
I drove my son to the tournament. After two bag loss incidents recently – one of which meant me replacing a full sports kit including trainers – I said: “Look after your bag today”.
“What, not look after me?”
“Yes, look after you too.”
There were a lot of boys in the tournament. Each team would play three games, but each boy was only guaranteed to play one of those three games. If my son played in the first or even the second game, he would be able to play football. If only they would tell us which game he was playing in. Or if only he would be brave enough to speak up and say “I’ve got a football match later, can I play in the first game?”.
I hung around for an hour or so to to see if it would become any clearer, but it didn’t. I knew my husband was heading over in time for the first game and then (hopefully) to whisk him off to football. I would have loved to stay, but I had to get home for my daughter and my niece’s party.
Just after 12pm, my husband rang. My son had played in the first game, he’d set up a try and put in a good tackle. But that’s where the good news ended.
He had knocked heads with another player after only a few minutes on the pitch. He’d stayed down on the pitch for a long time. The coach had gone over to him and sat with him on the pitch for a while, before calling the paramedics over. Generally speaking, parents shouldn’t wander onto the pitch, but at this point my husband also went onto the pitch. He said my son appeared dizzy when he got up.
“He definitely won’t be playing football this afternoon.”
He’d been taken to an ambulance on site and thoroughly assessed for 20 minutes. He’d been a bit tearful at first and his temperature was a low, but it came back up to normal over the course of the 20 minutes and he was able to answer various questions. He had mild concussion and the paramedics were satisfied he didn’t need to go to A&E. But he did need to go home.
I just wanted to see him, but he was safe with my husband and I was conscious of my commitment to my niece. And my husband was STILL worrying about the football team.
My daughter might be only 12, but she’s very good with little children. She wouldn’t be any less help than me at the party. So I drove to the party, made sure the children were settled and left my daughter to help out in my place.
The party went fine without me. My husband didn’t make it to the football match and they started with only eight players (they should have 11 on the pitch, plus subs). One of the boys from rugby made it to the game for the second half and they didn’t concede any more goals after he’d arrived. So if it hadn’t been for the head injury, it would have been a reasonably successful day.
The concussion is still ongoing, and my son has found it frustrating and upsetting at times. I will update on that in a later post, when hopefully my son will be feeling better.