MacKenzie, 16 Years Old, Deep Creek Lake, MD

My concussion wasn???t just a headache, it changed my life.


MacKenzie, 16 Years Old, Deep Creek Lake, MD

MacKenzie, a varsity soccer player, competitive dancer, wake boarder, and all-around athlete, sustained a concussion after hitting her head during a big soccer game. That night, it was clear to her mom that something was wrong. mackenzieMacKenzie reported light and noise sensitivity, severe headaches, exhaustion, mood changes, and her right pupil appeared three times larger than her left. She went to the emergency room in Maryland and was instructed to rest in order to ease her concussion symptoms.

Three years before, MacKenzie had a spinal corrective surgery at UPMC. Her family was happy with the care she received, so they traveled to Pittsburgh to be seen by Micky Collins, PhD, and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program team. At her initial appointment with the team, MacKenzie felt comfortable in the athletic atmosphere and underwent testing to identify the best possible rehabilitation plan for her concussion. Dr. Collins prescribed vestibular therapy, balance exercises, and physical therapy to help Mackenzie maintain an active lifestyle while she worked to recover. Thanks to her dedication to this program, she was first cleared for dance and was able to perform in a world championship competition. A few weeks after that, MacKenzie was cleared to return to soccer practice and began preparations for her senior season. Because of this positive experience, she plans to pursue a career in physical therapy. She wants to help others recover from their injuries and get back to living their lives.

“My concussion wasn’t just a headache, it changed my life. Through all of this I learned that there is a way to get better and get back to doing everything I love with my family and teammates.”


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