Herniated Disc in High School

Hi. My name is Phyllis and I am the proud mother of an 18 year old boy named Robert.  Robert is an athlete and scholar, earning many awards in his high school career for both his physical and mental accomplishments.  Robert is now a senior in school, planning on heading to college in a few months. However, he was recently affected by a herniated disc that has threatened his goals of attending university on an athletic scholarship.

Robert plays several school sports, but primarily concentrates on baseball.  This past fall, he was playing football for his school when he was hit hard and suffered back pain immediately and the following few weeks after the trauma.  I was there to witness the event and it broke my heart.  Robert is a strong boy and he seemed really surprised that he could be hurt so badly.  For the first time, I realized what a risk his sports participation truly was.

Robert went to see a few doctors and was eventually sent for an MRI that showed a lumbar herniated disc at L5/S1.  His back pain was in the area above the disc, which caused dissention among several of his doctors.  One orthopedist thought the disc was still the source of pain, while his sports medicine doctor did not.  Robert is scared by the disc injury and worries that he will not be able to perform up to his full potential in university.

Robert was granted a scholarship prior to his senior year, due to his extensive accomplishments.  The school said that he will have to be examined by the team physician in order to still qualify for the scholarship. They advised waiting until the last minute (during the upcoming summer) to have this exam, in order to give his back the most time to heal.  Since Robert is smart, he can still get an academic scholarship if the athletic one falls through, but this might not cover all the school expenses, which is a great stress to our family.  We are already pressured by a terrible economy and a series of employment set backs over the past 6 years of suffering under our present ridiculous government.

Robert is sitting out of much of the spring season of sports at his school, in order to rest his back. He is really unhappy and worried, and I am not sure what to do to help him.  He just wants to be a normal kid and unstoppable again.  I guess he will have to accept that he is not immune to injury.  Maybe it is a good lesson for him to learn, but at what consequence?

Does anyone have any experience with a child who has a herniated disc?  I hope to get some reassurance that things will work out ok.  I know that I should know more about his condition, so I am online reading all that I can.  This site has been a big help, so I appreciate the information and the opportunity to share my story to get some objective opinions on his situation.

Thanks and wish my Robert well.  He has a long life ahead of him and so many dreams to chase after.  – Phyllis

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