Sports, physical activity post craniotomy

I’m in the middle of a rather difficult discussion with my daughter’s school. Last year her school allowed her to be a teacher’s aide while her class was in PE. But now she is in the Middle school and they insist that she be in PE. My directions to the PE instructor (email and phone conversation) have not been followed. I don’t think they really understand because Dani looks so normal! She has a 33% vision loss to her left and an order from the neuro to not play any sports that might result cause her head to come into contact with an object or person. He said she can play fun games with her friends, but nothing competetive. Am I over reacting? I really don’t feel that a 6th grade PE class is safe for her.

you should go with your gut feeling as a mother you know what is safe or not for your child…and if you have been told by a neuro i dont think your over reacting at all…and i cant believe the P.E teacher would be so disrespectful as to go against your wishes…

You are being too nice with the school.

If it were my child, I’d get a short descriptive letter from the neuro (and I’d not put the details of the medical issue in it–they don’t need to know) saying

“Dani is not to play any sports that might result with her head to come into contact with an object or person. She can play fun games with her friends, but nothing competitive or in a group PE class at school.”

I would hand deliver the letter with a witness to the principal and verbally read it to him, so there is no doubt about it’s meaning. Bet Dani isn’t in PE there any longer! You’ve just put them on notice that you’ll sue their a$$es off if something happens in a PE class.

Now for a different perspective. Our Son had seizures from epilepsy from middle school through Sophomore in college. Allen’s an athletic kid and lived for baseball and football. When he got to high school he wanted to play football more than anything else. It scared us to death, fearing that he’d have one of his “zone out” seizures and get clobbered in the head. We sat down with him and reached a compromise: He could play football with our blessing, until he had concussion #1. Then there would be no debate, he would quit football. He agreed to that and never had a concussion issue.

His buddies and the coaches knew what his seizures looked like and he had several at practices. The coaches, who were GREAT, and most of the team knew of Allen’s issues, and were told “If Allen starts acting goofy, bring him to the sideline.” The trainer/med person that was always with the team carried some of Allen’s med he was to take for a longer seizure. He formed some very strong friendships with the team and coaches.

In college, he played non-competitive sports. 2nd year at college, he elected to have surgery to try to stop the seizures (thank God it did). Those Drs told him after the 3 month eval that he had no restrictions. But later that year he wanted to take scuba lessons at college. I asked him to wait to make sure the seizures wouldn’t come back and that I’d never get over losing him to a diving accident involving a seizure. He agreed.

That was 3-4 yrs ago. Guess my next note to him needs to say Son, I love you. Thanks for holding off on the scuba. I’ll pay for your lessons now.

Hope this helps,
Ron, ks

Hi Rebecca,

I’d call the principal and ask for a conversation with you, the PE teacher, and the principal and bring the note from the neurologist. There may be some alternate activities that Dani can participate in in lieu of competitive ones. Some examples I can think of are aerobics and Zumba (Latin-based dance aerobics). Having supervised after school day care, I know that people can get hurt while participating in competitive sports activities. Hope everything works out.


You are not over reacting at all! That is your baby they are dealing with and as a parent I think you have every right to protect her. Next summer when my daughter turns 3 she can start soccer. We really had every hope of having her play soccer before all of “this” started but it scares us what could happen if she takes a hit to the head. So we will sadly be holding off on soccer until she is more coordinated for it. Until then, we have her in gymnastics. When we signed her up we had to write down her medical conditions. Since we are there the entire time she is in class we just wrote “AVM - will explain if needed”. But when she goes off to pre-school and anywhere else, you bet I will sit down with everyone envolved with her direct care and explain that although she may look/act/learn/play like an average kid, she still needs a little extra care and attention when it comes to her head. I’m sure a Neuro is a little smarter than PE teachers when it comes to your daughters life. You do what you can to make your daughter safe and to make you feel comfortable.

My family doctor has told us that you do not even need to give a reason to be excused from a school activity. If the medical note from the doctor says the child cannot do it, then that is the way it is. He says it is an infringement of your human rights to have to disclose why. (and I know you already have told them why but the point is if you have a doctor’s note, that is all you need)

I agree that she should not chance a gym class if you do not feel it is being properly monitored. It’s just not worth it.
I volunteered for a lunchtime intramural sports activity when my kids were in elementary school and it was CRAZY the stuff that went on! The other children cannot possibly understand how careful she and they need to be right now! I do not blame you one bit. She can do other physical activity outside of school that you know is more suited to her right now.

Thank you all for your support! I have an appointment set up now, and I think that I will ask that she not be in PE at all. I’ll let you know how it goes.