On September 28, 2016 I thought it was a regular day just like no other. I went to school then to cheerleading practice. I was the base in my stunt group so I held another girl up over my head. During practice her foot slipped and she fell on my head. My mind went blank, everything I heard was muted, my vision went black, and I didn’t understand what was happening. I thought everything was fine. I was dizzy beyond measure, the only thing I could think to do was to sit down, and I did. After I could see and hear again normally I returned to practice and didn’t tell anyone what had happened due to the fear they the coaches would take me out of the routine. I went home feeling foggy and still aware of the underlying situation. I was unable to do my homework and I couldn’t process anything that was happening around me but still I didn’t tell anyone. I returned to school the next day, took an AP test, went through my day, and forced myself to go to cheer practice again. After practice I started walking to my car, but felt like nothing around me, or my thoughts were processing. I was in a deep fog. I went home and tried to study for three tests I had the next day and it look me two hours to complete one math problem. This is when I finally told my mom. The next day I was diagnosed with a concussion and the other symptoms started presenting themselves. My headaches caused excruciating pain. I ended up taking about 15 pills a day to calm my symptoms but nothing stopped them. I missed almost three months of school, had to drop most of my classes, and was forced to stop all extra curricular activities. I was later diagnosed with post concussion syndrome. I am not the person I was before, I am unable to do the things I used to, and I still have symptoms. If you or someone you know is suffering from a brain injury don’t push them to get better allow time. Speak up and tell something if you suspect an injury don’t hesitate.
I was a 9th grader when I competed in a downhill skateboard race wearing full head protection and gear. A racer ran me off the road during the third heat. I fell into a ditch and hit my head. I was knocked unconscious. No one witnessed my crash or saw me lay in the ditch. Somehow I made it back to the road. At the ER, the CT scan didn’t show any brain or neck injury. I was told to rest. Later I was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome. During the first 4 months I was unable to walk unassisted or talk in complete sentences. The words were stuck in my mind but would not come out. Loud noises or regular house activity increased my severe headaches. For example, my family could not use the ice dispenser unless I was in my room with the door closed. I slept during the day and was awake at night, because then it was dark and quiet without anyone around. It allowed me to control my environment to what I needed. I did not return to attending regular school until 11th grade. Now I have almost finished my senior year and will soon have my High School Diploma.
I have been dealing with chronic headaches, insomnia, and short and long term memory loss since the accident. The accident happened in October 2013.
I’m 18 I had to miss and defer my junior year after my ninth concussion. I played high level soccer for 13 years. I got my first concussion in 5th grade. Nobody was talking about concussions at that time so even though I was knocked out, my injury wasn’t recognized. Ive had a headache every day since. I got my second concussion in seventh grade and it was very similar to the first. I was knocked out again in gym class and it wasn’t recognized. Later during that class I was playing soccer and slide tackled. I slammed my head on the ground. I started having migraines and I was nauseated and confused. My teacher kept asking if I was ok but I said I was just tired. I had a soccer game later that day and I wasn’t going to let a little headache stop me. I got my third concussion a few months later in seventh grade gym class playing floor hockey. I don’t really know what happened but when I came to I was on the ground and everything was spinning. My teacher had my friend walk me up to the nurse and I was sent home.
My mom took me to the doctor and I was diagnosed with a concussion. I didn’t understand how serious a concussion was so three weeks later I lied and said I was fine to continue playing soccer. Eleven months later I was in eighth grade and at soccer practice. I don’t remember the 24 hours in which the event happened. My teammates told me that I was chasing a girl back and since it was December we were practicing inside. I got my feet tangled with the other girl. I fell and one side of my head hit the brick wall and I was unconscious before I hit the ground and hit my head again. It was a brief loss of consciousness. When I came to I was hallucinating and vomiting. My mom took me to the doctor a few days later and I was diagnosed with a concussion. I missed 3 months of school and 10 months of soccer. But again I missed soccer so much that even after 10 months I wasn’t fully recovered but lied to be able to go back and play again. Sophomore year of high school I was playing varsity soccer. My coach was obsessed with heading and I got at least four concussions that season although there were probably more. I played the winter and spring seasons where I know I had more concussions. At the end of sophomore year I was at the doctor and I wasn’t looking good. Three neurologists had to come in to look at me and finally they discovered I’d been hiding concussions. I was told I’d never play contact sports again. Unfortunately it didn’t end there. I went away that summer to my overnight camp. During our color war the last week I got a concussion playing team handball. Again I was knocked out. This concussion caused me to miss a year of school. When I went back to school September 2016 I was sitting in the lounge with my friends and I banged heads with my friend. I missed a week of school but then I went back to things like usual. The school year was extremely difficult. Then a little more than two months ago I banged my head getting in the car and then a few days later I was at my friend’s house and we were playing floor hockey and I was knocked out cold for an extended period of time.
I have every symptom post concussion. I have done all the therapies out there but they can only get me to a certain point before they can’t do anything for me anymore.
I COULD HAVE GIVEN UP… BUT…
I could have given up, when the doctors told me, they didn’t believed, that I could come 100% back to life again after my second concussion in 2011- but I didn’t, I would show them that I could and today I’m 100 back!
I could have given up cause of the struggle and pain I had in 3 1/2 years – but I didn’t, it was not easy but worth it. I could have giving up when I had no home after me and my boyfriend in 5 years broke up – but I didn’t, I found a beautiful home and was happy and thankful.
I could have giving up, when the doctors told me I would never be able to run again – but I didn’t, it took some time and training in small steps, but now I can run again like the good old days at the Police Academy. Today I had a 10 kilometers run in the forest – can’t remember last time I did that.
But most importantly, on this run all these thoughts came up, and it gave me energy that I never had experienced before. The run felt easy, when I was comparing it to all the other things that I had gone through without giving up! In 2014 I was 100% fresh again and after that – my life purpose has been to help (you) people through their concussion and nothing makes more sense to me than that!
Since my biggest help in my recovery was of the food I have also written a couple of cookbooks to give you inspiration and knowledge about brainfood and soon will come an online brainfood program. Remember struggle, pain and hard times is not here to hurt you – but to serve you in the end
I believe in you and please don’t give up!
With love, Ida
About 8 months ago I got my fifth concussion playing college Basketball and that resulted
in me missing my senior year because of the consequences it had on my health. For 6 straight months after my last concussion I woke up every day with a headache, dizziness, nausea, extreme fatigue and those were the “good days”. During the “bad days” I was actually sick because of intense migraines, dizziness and neck pain. I had to take the whole summer off after graduation. I had to quit the job I got and for months I could not really be around people or do anything. Even though I am feeling better now, I’m still not feeling like myself, but I am staying positive that one day I will be back to 100%. As challenging as it can be sometimes, it has also given me the opportunity to discover new things I enjoy doing and it made me realize what truly matters in life and what I wanted to do.
Today marks my two year anniversary of an event I will never forget. Two years ago I sustained a minor traumatic brain injury and began a journey that I did not choose on my own. Almost one year ago I found a chiropractic neurologist who gave me hope for recovery. It is due to his expertise that I was able to do so well in continually improving this year.
But honestly it has been also due to a lot of hard work on my part.
I have spent thousands of my own dollars on alternative health care that was not covered by my health insurance.
I have brain exercises I am supposed to do every day.
I eat a nutritious diet of mostly organic meats and vegetables.
I cram a handful of supplements down my throat each morning and night.
And I have constantly had to face the psychological affects of living a life full of scary, unexplainable symptoms.
I have had to battle anxiety in a way that I had never confronted before this.
I must confess I am now sometimes afraid of normal activities. Wouldn’t you be afraid if you knew that this whole nightmare could start over with another accidental hit to the head? A hit to the head that wouldn’t bother anyone else?
It’s a reality that I face now.
But hiding in my dark bedroom is no longer viable. I want to get out, to be free, to be experiencing.
So last weekend I went to the OB Holiday parade. I had no idea that this would be a crazy madhouse of drunken revelers, blaring lights, and obnoxious sounds. Bands were floating by, screaming chords. Lights were dazzling and sparkling. Ornate costumes, bullhorns belching, dogs dressed in Christmas attire. It was an opportunity for people watching on a grand scale. I absolutely loved it.
As the fire truck squealed its alarms at me, then a pack of motorcycles streamed by, I thought back to when these sights and sounds would have destroyed me, sent me to bed crying with a headache and shaking hands.
This past Saturday I was in it and I had the urge to leave but I fought it and enjoyed my life instead.
When I finally did drive home, I was smiling from ear to ear. This is the evidence that all of the hard work I have been doing.
In the fall of my freshman year of high school, only 2 weeks before high school soccer tryouts, I was hit in the head with a soccer ball during a tournament. Nothing out of the ordinary, other than the moment of dizziness and bloody nose. I played the rest of the game, and 2 games afterwards.
I went to a week of school, and it wasn’t until the Thursday after my concussion that all the symptoms hit me. I was extremely sensitive to light, sound, and my head felt like someone was taking a jack hammer to it.
My neurologist kept telling me “any day now” and that I just needed to “give it time.” A few months later, after laying in bed all day and night with closed blinds and sunglasses, I still felt awful. I was angry that no one understood my pain, and I was annoyed with my doctors who just kept telling me to be patient. Patience had never been a strong suit of mine, and this was really testing me. I felt incredibly isolated, and alone. All my high school friends were too caught up in their own lives to visit me, and they didn’t understand my invisible injury. I missed all the things that I had been looking forward to that year: soccer tryouts, homecoming, movie nights with friends, all of it.
After about 6 months, I felt well enough to start going back to school part time, and even started exercising slightly. It felt so good to be back with friends, but at the same time it was so hard explaining where I had been the past 6 months. My team of doctors decided that contact sports were no longer a safe option for me, and so my soccer career ended. I was devastated, having been a soccer player my whole life.
Two years after the incident, after struggling with constant head aches and sensitivity due to Post Concussion Syndrome, I turned to rowing, a sport that maintained the competitive team environment that I craved without the head injury risk. Rowing turned out to be one of the best things I ever decided to try. I rowed for the rest of my high school years, and was recruited to the Division I rowing team at USD. Suddenly, my reputation as the “concussion girl” became the “rowing girl,” and I loved it. While my concussion and recovery was a serious low point in my life, it gave me rowing, which turned out to be a huge high point.
Learning so much about why my brain was hurting during the recovery process also sparked an interest in Neuroscience. I can proudly say that I am on track to graduate in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Neuroscience, and hope to pursue a career in neurologic rehabilitation afterwards. TBI awareness, prevention, and support has become my passion, and I’ve had such an incredible time as a volunteer for SDBIF and also as a volunteer in Scripps Brain Injury Day Program.
My recovery was a long 2 years, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. This concussion brought me to rowing, brought me to USD, introduced me to Neuroscience, and gave me my lifelong passion for neurologic rehabilitation.
I urge all of you to look for the good in your recovery experience, and to hold on to your hope, even when it seems like you can’t any longer. You’re all so strong, and I believe with my whole heart that this is a battle you will win.
With love & strength,