Madeline, 17 Years Old, Karns City, PA

Madeline, 17 Years Old, Karns City, PA

In the fall of 2014, Madeline — a high school student and aspiring nurse — experienced a light hit to her head during gun twirling practice. At the time, she did not feel any pain so she didn’t give a second thought to the incident.

Concussion Symptoms

Over time, Madeline began experiencing symptoms including:

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Light sensitivity
  • Balance issues
  • Motion troubles

Concussion Challenges

Madeline began seeing many local doctors in her hometown but wasn’t getting better. A friend suggested she visit the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program to rule out the possibility of a concussion.

Assessing the Concussionmadeline

In October 2014, Madeline and her mother Cindy traveled to Pittsburgh for her first appointment. She underwent a full evaluation, including the ImPACT® test, and the team taught her about the complexities of concussion.

Madeline learned that the minor hit to her head may have been what caused her concussion. Based on the results of her evaluation and her symptoms, the team developed an individualized rehabilitation plan for Madeline.

“We came here feeling desperate for an explanation of what was going on with Madeline. They quickly alleviated all of our concerns and gave us a plan to get better,” Cindy recalls.

Managing the Concussion

For months, Madeline worked on vestibular and physical therapy. She also received some accommodations in school. Between checkups, she worked on her exercises at home. Although initially surprised to be encouraged to get active, Madeline began to see her progress increase with each visit.

Concussion Recovery

In March 2015, Madeline was cleared by the concussion team to return to full activities.


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