Josh, 17 Years Old, Loudon County, VA
In September of 2013, Josh sustained a concussion on the soccer field. Josh, a multi-sport athlete, had sustained one concussion in the past, but this injury was different for both him and his family.
- Severe headaches
Josh went to the emergency room and later followed up with his pediatrician. Josh missed a week of school to rest and then began a course of modified school activities. His symptoms persisted after six weeks.
Josh took the ImPACT® test with the athletic trainers at his school. His results prompted his parents to take him to a local concussion clinic. For three months, Josh was instructed to only exert himself until feeling pain or discomfort. When his symptoms did not improve, the clinic referred him to a neurologist. Josh was prescribed anti-depressant medications which intensified his symptoms and he experienced suicidal thoughts. Even after trying treatments such as multiple medications including fentanyl patches, psychiatric therapy sessions, and BOTOX® injections in his scalp, Josh’s pain still wasn’t going away.
“Josh was just one of those great kids that we all know; always positive, funny, smart, hard-working and really liked to lead and help people. And, at this point in his injury he was almost completely void of virtually any emotion or the spark that made him who he is,” Josh’s parents, George and Angie, shared.
Josh’s neurologists recommended a PET scan to rule out other possibilities. After the test, he was told he had Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and wasn’t going to get better. At this time, a friend of the family and member of their church recommended the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program to Josh’s parents.
Managing the Concussion
In April of 2014, Josh arrived at UPMC for the first time. After undergoing a full evaluation, Josh met with many members of the concussion team including Micky Collins, PhD, Kelly Anderson, DO, Cara Troutman-Enseki, DPT, OCS, Anne Mucha, DPT, and more. His parents were relieved to learn that the team at UPMC could help Josh recover. Josh began a rehabilitation plan tailored specifically for his symptoms as well as the severity of his concussion. His plan included exertion, vestibular, and physical therapy, and a plan to get off of his medications. Dr. Collins also took Josh off the pain meds immediately.
Josh dedicated himself to his rehabilitation plan even though it was initially challenging for him. In three months, Josh had returned to social and athletic activities. In August of 2014, Josh was cleared to return to all activities by the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Clinic team.
“Thanks to the treatment he received at UPMC, Josh is himself again. He is back playing sports and pursuing his dream of playing soccer in college, smiles all the time, and is doing well in school. Josh is the worst joke teller of all time, but after 11 months of recovery, he is telling them again and we couldn’t be happier,” George recalls.
To learn more about our patients, read their stories.