Chelsea | Pittsburgh, PA

Chelsea | Pittsburgh, PA

On a warm September day, Chelsea, 11, was playing sweeper on her club travel soccer team. While defending two shooters, she was pushed down and her head landed near the soccer ball. An opposing player went to kick the ball but missed, kicking Chelsea in the temple instead. Chelsea quickly rolled over to try to protect herself but was then kicked in the head again, in the other temple.

Conscious but in shock, Chelsea was unable to move. The referee stopped the game and her dad, Jim, one of the soccer team’s coaches, ran out on the field and scooped her up. He immediately took her to an urgent care facility where they said she most likely suffered a concussion. The urgent care staff told Jim that if Chelsea wasn’t feeling well the next day, or had double vision, she may need to see a specialist.

By the next morning, Chelsea told her dad that she was seeing two of him. It was time for Chelsea’s parents to take her to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. There, she was diagnosed with a concussion and referred to the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program for treatment.


While concussed, Chelsea experienced the following symptoms:

  • Bad headaches
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Double vision
  • Extreme fatigue


When Chelsea first met with Micky Collins, PhD, executive and clinical director at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, she completed the ImPACT® test to determine the severity of her concussion. Dr. Collins then outlined the types of therapies she’d need to participate in to start feeling better, including vestibular and exertion therapy.

“The entire focus was on Chelsea,” recalls Jim. “As soon as the doctor outlined her course of treatment, he asked my wife and I, ‘Mom and Dad, does this sound okay to you? What questions do you have?’ We went from not knowing what was happening with our daughter to having a doctor say she’s going to get better and everything will be okay.”

Chelsea was then introduced to various therapists who would help her with what she was going through. She participated in vestibular and exertion therapy, and saw an occupational therapist for her vision.

Her school made special accommodations for her as well. Chelsea was given extra time to complete assignments and exams. She was also allowed to go to quieter rooms at the school so she could concentrate better.


In December, after three months of vestibular, exertion, and ocular therapy, Chelsea was cleared.

“Going through this has been an experience to remember,” says Chelsea. “Dr. Collins thinks I should be a doctor like him because I’d also get to help people.”

Chelsea has a love for sports and is happy to currently be on her club swim team. She plans to return to playing soccer as well.

“My daughter is 100 percent herself again,” says Jim. “It’s amazing what the folks at UPMC were able to do for her.”


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