Emmett | Westerville, Ohio
A fall down the stairs in October 2014 landed Emmett, 62, in the hospital. After being cleared and released just two days later, he felt that he was okay to return to his normal day-to-day activities. However, it wasn’t long before Emmett realized that something serious was occurring with his health.
Four weeks later, Emmett noticed several changes. As a successful business executive known for his mental acuity, he experienced a decline in his ability to focus and think clearly. The mental sharpness that had contributed to great career success, had started to diminish and take a toll on his ability maintain a high level of performance in the workplace.
Over time, Emmett’s condition began to take a toll on his personal life and career. In addition to loss of sharpness, other symptoms began to arise. He noticed an overwhelming feeling of fatigue, difficulty following along in conversations, as well as speaking in them, and feeling anxious in crowds.
Troubled by his symptoms, Emmett feared the possibility of a brain tumor, dementia, or Alzheimer’s. He shared his concerns with his doctor and various tests were performed in an attempt to provide clarity, but each came back with negative results.
By May 2015, more than six months after his fall down the stairs, Emmett’s doctors finally pinpointed the cause of his symptoms: a concussion.
Prior to visiting the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion program, Emmett’s initial concussion treatment plan consisted of speech therapy, a few exercises, and resting in a dark room. But, as time went on, he saw no signs of improvement. In fact, things started to become worse. After months with no improvement, Emmett made the decision to take medical leave from work while he focused on getting better.
More than three years later after his fall down the stairs, Emmett came across videos of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. discussing his concussion treatment with clinical and executive director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, Michael Collins, PhD. After learning about Dale’s story, Emmett remembers feeling hopeful that things could begin to turn around for him after all. Soon after, he began treatment at UPMC.
“Don’t retreat somewhere quiet, get out and fight this,” Emmett recalls Dr. Collins telling him. “Treat it as a challenge you have to overcome.”
Under Dr. Collins’ care, Emmett’s new concussion treatment plan followed an active approach that included mental recall exercises, balance, and holding his gaze when walking. There are many concussion symptoms and Emmett was finally being treated for all of them, not just one.
Within 65 days from his first visit to the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, Emmett was feeling almost exactly like his old self. He was cleared to return to work and was slowly getting back his normal activities. The biggest test of all was airport travel. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the crowds and noise, he enjoyed the experience.
When thinking about his journey with the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, Emmett says, “It’s not an exaggeration to say that this treatment at UPMC gave me my life back.”