Christine, 55 Years Old, State College, PA
In July 2014, Christine sustained her third diagnosed concussion in a household accident.
After hitting her head, she experienced balance trouble, vision difficulty, headaches, vestibular migraines, dizziness, and nausea when reading for five minutes or more. She first visited her primary care physician who referred her to a concussion program. Christine’s symptoms made her work in student services at Penn State and attending football games challenging. She started feeling frustrated that she wasn’t getting better.
“I don’t like to sit around and not do anything. My brain has always been my favorite part of my body. It was difficult having trouble with the things I enjoy like reading and working,” Christine explained.
Christine was referred to the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. In September 2014, she traveled to Pittsburgh and met with Micky Collins, PhD, for her first appointment. Christine took the ImPACT® test and based on her results, the team created a rehab plan including vestibular, vision, and exertion therapy. As part of her plan, she worked with Anne Mucha, DPT, and Cara Troutman-Enseki, DTP, OTS. Christine was relieved that the entire concussion team communicated not only with each other but also with her work human resources department to negotiate workplace and schedule accommodations to help her recover.
“For the first time I felt like I had hope. The team approach is wonderful. You can tell they’re really communicating,” Christine described.
Within two weeks of her initial appointment, Christine had improved. She read her first book cover to cover, having not read at all since sustaining her concussion. Christine continued to improve with every visit to UPMC. By November 2014, Christine was feeling more like herself, she was even able to attend a full football game without symptoms. Christine was able to return to work full-time in January 2015.
“I used to joke with my husband that it would be nice to have a dog’s life laying around and sleeping all day. With my concussion, it seemed like I was living a dog’s life and it was awful. But at my first visit, Dr. Collins promised me that he’d get me back to 100% and he did,” Christine commented.
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