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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming

Subject: Gaming with a concussion rss

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Sean M
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First, I know doctors say, "If you've seen one concussion, you've seen one concussion", so I'm not expecting general blanket rules here.

But I am wondering: does anyone know of research into the effects of concussions on game playing, or (reversal) the effects of game playing on concussion recovery?

Secondarily, does anyone have experience with this and would like to share some wisdom?


...background and full disclosure: a gaming friend of mine had a serious concussion two-ish years ago. She's doing far better now, but Splendor (her previously favourite game) makes her brain physically hurt. It's rather sad, but she's determined to get back into gaming and I'd like to help but don't know where to start.
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jay
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I had what i believe was a very mild one. I didn't get an official diagnosis, which was probably a pretty dumb decision but I'm gonna blame that decision on the concussion. I played a game of Power Grid the next day, which I won but with first time gamers.

I was mostly fine after a week, but that week was super fuzzy. Everything I have seen suggests that you should take on mental tasks slowly while your brain heals.
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Marc Buchanan
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In high schools, the protocol for students with concussions is to ease them back into their school work. The brain needs time to heal.
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As above.

Plus if your concussion is anything like mine was one time, you 'll probably want to research how to get the smell of vomit out of cardboard.
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Bryan Thunkd
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I had a concussion a few years back and what helped me concussion a few years back.
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Robert Wesley
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Thunkd wrote:
I had a concussion a few years back and what helped me concussion a few years back.
While THAT and yet 'Clarissa' even then "explains A-L-L-!" Just awaiting: "L-O-O-S-E-L-Y-! You 'gots' some GROGnads` `splaining TOO DUE!" /whistle\
 
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Osiris Saline
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Grondhammar wrote:
First, I know doctors say, "If you've seen one concussion, you've seen one concussion", so I'm not expecting general blanket rules here.

But I am wondering: does anyone know of research into the effects of concussions on game playing, or (reversal) the effects of game playing on concussion recovery?

Secondarily, does anyone have experience with this and would like to share some wisdom?


...background and full disclosure: a gaming friend of mine had a serious concussion two-ish years ago. She's doing far better now, but Splendor (her previously favourite game) makes her brain physically hurt. It's rather sad, but she's determined to get back into gaming and I'd like to help but don't know where to start.


Oh jeez, I'm sorry to hear about your friend.

Depending on the severity/grade of the concussion things can change forever, which is bleak, but I've had several concussions from late teen/early 20s and some days I feel like I'm underwater with a migraine, years after the fact/s. I play pretty much every board game I did before physical trauma but often use cheat sheets/get up for fresh air/make sure I'm not straining at all during play.

As others have said, rest is necessary, though as it's been years since the concussion, you may have to look into accessibility options to see if they can stop any straining/forgetfulness/pain.

If someone has problems with short term memory or long term details (which frustrates everyone around) then cheat sheets may be a good option if the person doesn't feel condescended to. Icons & colour references, plus rule clarifications being easy to follow is very important. On top of this make sure the group you're all playing in won't be harsh if your friend asks for some help/asks why someone's doing a specific action.

Aside from the basic accessibility help, if concentration amidst game mechanics is what's contributing to her brain physically hurting, consider games with less Euro mechanisms perhaps? I know that may sound odd and restrictive, but if your brain is under undue pressure, then there's no way you should be proceeding with 'em. Some weightier games are actually easier to follow due to turn procedure.

USUAL DISCLAIMER: Overall the big thing that everyone must come to terms with is that with any illness/injury/disability, don't expect the person to come out 'cured' as it can be accidentally hurtful. Things happen in life and things change, sometimes for the worse, but nothing sucks more than having a problem and people not registering you as a complete human unless you can get past it and be as you were beforehand.
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Tom Cundiff
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I suffer from Traumatic Epilepsy (due to multiple concussions beginning ... well the 1st one was when I was about 7 when I fell off a porch railing that broke). The last one was about 6 years ago. I even got whacked above my left eye by the rear half of a .45 ACP round that mis-fired in the chamber causing half the brass to rip off and smack me in the head. Tests have shown left frontal lobe damage. I suffer from migraines that began to be increasingly a problem 30 years ago when I contracted Lyme's Disease on top of all of this.

I'm frequently exhausted from the instant I wake up. And I'm often afflicted with momentary dizziness. Medicine helps, about half a dozen different ones for seizures. In fact I'm mostly ok these days through the miracle of modern chemistry, perhaps Timothy Leary wasn't completely wrong.

I often find I forget rules. Sometimes I don't comprehend what I've read and have to have things explained to me verbally. Sometimes I read only a couple of pages of rules in a day just to be sure I don't create a migraine event (more and more of a problem since 2010). Very often I can't remember a specific term or acronym. I'll search my head to find it and simply cannot. It'll come to me hours later. Repeated playings of a game are usually required for me to learn things I quickly understood way back in the 70's.

I find I try to purchase games that utilize the same mechanics as an older game I already know. Familiarity with a game helps. New mechanics I find difficult to understand.

Bright light while reading is a problem so I use a reading light while the rest of the room is dark.

But, for all of this, I've continued to write and do graphic art for the hobby since the mid 80's, though these last six years have been a struggle as one of the symptoms is a lack of ... there's a term for it that I can't remember, but the concept is that you begin a project but seem to lose interest and fail to complete it. I've half a dozen game article projects (writing for game magazines) started that I haven't completed.

How each person responds to concussions is individual. Every year I take an EEG (a fancy one with more to it than normal and again it has a different specific name but I can't remember it - they flash lights in your eyes, and you wear a sound head set that has strange sounds that move from one ear to another while they do the EEG). So far my condition isn't getting worse.

I've a friend who has progressive dementia caused by brain damage. She's frightened. And she's only 48.

All I can really say is to keep up with your meds and rest as best you can. Don't play until 2 AM. And if you drink alcohol, no more than two drinks a week. I like wine, cognac, and fine bourbon, but I can tell it has an effect with my meds.

And when you find yourself falling asleep in your chair ... go ahead and take a nap. It's your body saying you need rest.
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James C
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Playing Splendor hurts my brain too because it's so boring.
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David Janik-Jones
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Not sure where to start. After getting my first concussion after 40+ years of playing baseball relatively injury free (as a coach at the time, no-less ... a foul ball off my left temple from a 5' 10" 13-year old batter only 18 feet away from me) I know it took me a week to even feel passably okay and get myself out of bed, another week before the tinnitus fully subsided (and a week more before they took the stitches out), and then three more weeks before I was able to concentrate enough to play board games.

Two years seems a long time, but as you said, every case and severity is unique. I hope she manages in time to get back into gaming.
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Sean M
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Thank you everyone for your insightful comments. I think Marc summed up what should be my general approach with the statement about gradually easing into this.

OsirisSaline wrote:
USUAL DISCLAIMER: Overall the big thing that everyone must come to terms with is that with any illness/injury/disability, don't expect the person to come out 'cured' as it can be accidentally hurtful...


This is a very good point. I have seen that a lot with concerned friends who expect her to be right back to where she was before, and get annoyed when she isn't. I've just seen her so driven to do this, and am looking for ways to support that recovery, however small or large it turns out to be.

Interesting point also about heavier games being potentially easier. We've recently found that Caylus, while being a fairly heavy Euro, is not a problem. We figure it's due to the clarity of the options and the simple components, but those are just guesses.

Anyway, thank you all again. If I find any serious research along this line I'll post it up here in case others find it helpful.
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Scott
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Grondhammar wrote:
But I am wondering: does anyone know of research into the effects of concussions on game playing, or (reversal) the effects of game playing on concussion recovery?


Advice is generally stay away from games of all sorts, video, board and sport. This advice is the broad brush strokes of opinion. Admittedly those opinion are by experts in the field but as you'll see in this brief exchange, that opinion is not backed up by a large corpus of evidence.

Interested amateur wrote:
There are references in any number of studies and consensus statements, including the 2008 Zurich consensus statement and a 2010 clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics that recommend cognitive rest, and specifically say no video games (the latter says "Other activities that require concentration and attention, including playing video games, using a computer, and viewing television, should also be discouraged, because they may exacerbate symptoms.")


named medical doctor, quoted by same amateur wrote:
Cognitive rest requires avoiding cognitive activities, such as reading, writing, doing homework, playing games such as chess or Trivial Pursuit, playing video games, text messaging, working online, and so forth.


unnamed doctor, identity hidden by same amateur wrote:
Some of the problem is that there is little research to support the statements. I have reviewed the research of all the people you speak of - including Zurich and there is no evidence behind the statements about rest. The one clinical trial of bedrest got negative results. So at least that seems clear. The rest of the literature that does exist actually suggests something different - that some levels of physical activity are good for healing the brain. We even think we understand the mechanisms for this to be true (in part related to a brain chemical called BDNF). Mental exertion is much more difficult to pin down and operationalize. Again, paying attention to what makes someone feel worse is an important component. Parents need to pay attention to their kids. Not an easy task. The field is riddled with inconsistencies and poorly understood mechanisms.


Source: http://www.momsteam.com/cognitive-rest/in-defense-recommenda...
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Steffen Eichenberg
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Grondhammar wrote:
She's doing far better now, but Splendor (her previously favourite game) makes her brain physically hurt. It's rather sad, but she's determined to get back into gaming and I'd like to help but don't know where to start.


It is like with every other bad injury. If you have injured your knee playing basketball, you might never play basketball again. But doing no sport at all is the worst option. Swimming might be your best option, but no basketball or running.

Help her find out what works best for her. Playing games is all about distraction from every day life plus the social experience. I would start with light hearted, fun games. And team games like Codenames. Try out what works and what doesn't. Maybe she will identify a pattern.

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Sean M
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blaecblaed wrote:


Excellent, thank you for the source! It's good to see that experts, while they have opinions, differ on treatment options.

I was notified via PM of a book that apparently has direct bearing: Superbetter by Jane McGonigal. I know Jane's name from the gamification community (not a big fan of that myself), but the book apparently talks directly about her own experience with brain injury and gaming, has a significant research component, and appears to be pretty solid. Will be doing some reading it appears.

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Greg Case
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Grondhammar wrote:
First, I know doctors say, "If you've seen one concussion, you've seen one concussion", so I'm not expecting general blanket rules here.

But I am wondering: does anyone know of research into the effects of concussions on game playing, or (reversal) the effects of game playing on concussion recovery?

Secondarily, does anyone have experience with this and would like to share some wisdom?


...background and full disclosure: a gaming friend of mine had a serious concussion two-ish years ago. She's doing far better now, but Splendor (her previously favourite game) makes her brain physically hurt. It's rather sad, but she's determined to get back into gaming and I'd like to help but don't know where to start.


If it starts to make you hurt stop. Your head is not ready for that activity yet
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Tom Cundiff
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Case wrote:


If it starts to make you hurt stop. Your head is not ready for that activity yet


Generally good advice. I'd also say, lie down, close your eyes, turn off the lights and TV, and if you're lucky you'll fall asleep for an hour or so. Take advantage of the opportunity to, what for me has been a signal that I need rest, take a nap.
 
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