Early on Eric and Debbie Boersma had concerns about the back of their son, Roman’s, head.
“We thought it looked a little flat, but given we see him every day it was difficult for us to really know if it was flat or if it was normal,” said Eric.
During Roman’s four month check-up they brought it up with their pediatrician, and were recommended to the local physical therapy group within Bronson Healthcare. Roman was diagnosed with plagiocephaly, an asymmetrical head shape, most often a flattening of the back of the head on one side. The physical therapist recommended Eric and Debbie to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital to see if a helmet was necessary.
Both were very nervous about the situation, and were primarily worried about Roman’s well being.
“Obviously it was a little concerning, and no one ever wants to hear that their child may have something wrong with them,” said Eric.
Since Roman is their first child, Eric and Debbie were nervous that his condition was due to something they did wrong. They wondered, “Did we leave him on his back too much? Was this something that was avoidable? Is it something that will have long term complications for our son?”
However, most of their fears were put to rest after meeting with Lance Weersma, Mary Free Bed certified orthotist.
“Our initial meeting with Lance was definitely stressful for my wife, but after learning about the process, the causes behind his condition, and how he’d help us, we both felt much more at ease,” shares Eric.
Eric continues to say that Lance went over and above to ensure his family was fully educated on the process of getting Roman’s helmet, how long he would likely have to wear it, and was available if he had questions.
Once Eric accepted that Roman most likely needed a helmet, he started thinking of cool things they could do to make the helmet a fun experience. Eric and Debbie decided to decorate the helmet to look like Dad’s old college football helmet.
Roman wore his helmet for 23 hours a day for just over two months, and experienced great results. His flat spot is now corrected and is helmet free.
“In the end the results speak for themselves. We couldn’t be happier with the care and support we received from Lance during this whole process,” says Eric.
While Eric and Debbie spoke up about their son’s condition, some other parents may be hesitate to bring this up to their pediatrician in fear they did something wrong, or because of the stigma with a child wearing a helmet.
“If you have any concerns definitely bring it up, and ask to be referred to a specialist in the area,” shares Eric. “Once we saw how bad the shape of Roman’s head was, it definitely opened our eyes, and we are glad that we caught it so early.”
Eric also tells parents to not be afraid of the fact that your child may have to wear a helmet. He believes it was comforting to see other parents facing a similar situation go out of their way to share their child’s story, or to ask how their situation is going so they can learn more.
“I was surprised at this, and it definitely made going out in public so much easier. What we realized is that there are a lot more children dealing with this than we thought,” says Eric.
The family has experienced some funny moments while being in public. When Eric and Roman were in the checkout line at a supermarket, a child in the next lane noticed the helmet, and told his mom that he wanted a cool helmet like Roman’s.
This made Eric and Roman laugh.