On May 15th I was rear ended by a car going 35 mph while I was at a complete stop in Pittsburgh and as a result I suffered my 5th concussion. For 13 weeks I was not allowed to work out and I was eventually pulled from work after a few weeks of trying to work after the accident.
Some of my major symptoms for the first 13 weeks were headaches, memory loss, trouble speaking, loss of balance, light and sound sensitivity, trouble sleeping, tiredness during the day and trouble concentrating. I am also still dealing with neck, back and shoulder injuries as well.
I’ve been prescribed several different drugs that are supposed to help with concussions and do physical and vestibular therapy. I’ve also done Yoga on my own which helps with calming my mind and reducing head and neck pain. Also, it provided me with a way to exercise while I was not allowed to workout.
After 13 weeks of resting I saw a new doctor who is the head of the Concussion Clinic at UPMC and he released me to start working out. After 1 week of working out I felt ten times better and was sleeping better too. Although it helped me feel a lot better overall I was still getting headaches and feel slowed down.
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I'm having a rough week with my concussion symptoms. It's been more than 11 weeks since I suffered my 5th concussion when I was rear ended in a car accident. And just as I thought I was getting better it seems like I've taken 10 steps back. I try to stay positive and work to get better each day with a smile but the reality is while I may not look sick in pictures I actually have a serious brain injury. It's been months since I've worked out and weeks since I've been to work. I can't remember people's names I've known for years, I have trouble finding the right words to use when speaking and I have difficulty concentrating. I get dizzy, I have neck/back pain, trouble sleeping and have balance issues. I share the good things 99% of the time because I want to continue to try and inspire people to live a happy and healthy life no matter what. But I also realize that by doing so I'm creating a false reality of what life is really like with a brain injury. I feel like I need to speak out about the severity of concussions and just how dangerous and life changing they really are. My first 2 were back to back in Jr. High resulting in me having a seizure on the basketball court and lying unconscious. Today I tried to ride a stationary bike and stretch. By the end of it I had a severe headache. It's extremely difficult to judge exactly how far I can push myself physically and mentally because one day I will be able to do something and the next day it causes symptoms that have even sent me to the emergency room. I'm hoping to start a YouTube series next week about my progress and to help spread awareness about concussions and create a platform for people who are suffering from brain injuries to share their stories. The hardest part of recovery is to not push yourself too hard, especially if you are athlete. I've always had the mentality that I'll never come out of a game unless in being carried off the court, but unfortunately that's not the way it works with brain injuries. Every day I'm 1 day closer. ***Let me know if you think the video series would be a good idea! ✌💕
**Technically it has taken me over a week to film and post this video/blog post. Because of the concussion I’m still having a lot of trouble working on things at the speed I used to. What would normally take me a day to do now takes me about a week to finish. I am going to get the second post up as soon as possible and hopefully the third will be posted on the actual date that I film the video so everything will be up to date.
As of now I am still not allowed to go back to work but I see the doctor again on August 28th and I’m feeling hopeful that I will get the OK to at least try and do a few days. Each doctor visit I have slightly improved all of my levels on the Impact test except for the “Thinking Speed” section. While I’ve gotten all of my other scores up to 80-90% by thinking speed is only at 13%.
The main goal of this series is to spread awareness about concussions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “It’s just a concussion.” That sentence is just wrong on so many different levels and I hope this series helps people realize that concussions can do serious damage that can last a lifetime. I got my 1st concussion in Junior High and had 4 by my freshman year of college. I wish I knew then what I know now about concussions. Not only have I learned a lot by first hand experience but the research on concussions has come a very long way since my 1st major hit to the head.
Please share this with anyone you know that has suffered from a concussion or other brain injury or just anyone that you think could benefit from learning more, especially young athletes.
Please leave comments or questions below! I would love to hear from other people dealing with concussions or other brain injuries. Let’s help each other get back to life before our injuries!
XOXO – Abbey