Marnie, 19 Years Old, Bethesda, MD

Marnie, 19 Years Old, Bethesda, MD

In February 2014, Marnie, a student at Georgetown University, hit her head on an electric fuse box at a friend’s house. Afterwards, Marnie experienced headaches, exhaustion, neck pain, and felt one step behind herself. Her local doctors instructed her to rest and avoid all activities until she stopped showing symptoms. Marnie, a very active student, was “devastated by this diagnosis” because of her interest in cycling, yoga, hiking, theater, and many other activities.marnie

For three months, Marnie’s health followed a cycle she describes as “pushing through symptoms to the point of exhaustion, then crashing and returning home” to Bethesda, Md., a short drive away from campus. Eventually she moved home permanently and maintained her academic status as a commuter thanks to support from family, friends, and professors.  She then began seeing local neurologists with little success. Three months after her accident, Marnie felt frustrated with her symptoms. She was now experiencing balance troubles, difficulty focusing, vision troubles, migraines, noise and light sensitivity, in addition to the exhaustion and cognitive fogginess. Her neurologists referred her to the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program for evaluation.

In May of 2014, Marnie traveled to Pittsburgh for the first time to meet with Erin Reynolds, PsyD. She was evaluated by the team and took the ImPACT® Test. Based on the results and Marnie’s symptoms, the team recommended vestibular, exertional, vision, and physical therapy, and referred her for a pharmacology consult to evaluate her medication regimen. For the first time in her treatment process, she was told she could do something to get better. “Dr. Reynolds and the whole team at UPMC really care about the whole person. It was so incredible that they worked with me to make a plan for me,” Marnie described.

She was encouraged to become active again, starting with therapy exercises, biking, and walking. Within a week of her appointment at UPMC, Marnie saw drastic improvements and kept steadily improving. She returned to UPMC for two more visits in June and July. After that, Marnie was referred to a doctor in the D.C. area who had been trained by the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, so she could begin preparations for the upcoming semester. In September 2014, Marnie was cleared to return to her full intensity of activity.

Marnie is back to living on campus in Washington, D.C. and has returned to her theater group, yoga club, cycling routine, and regular trips to the gym. “I learned so much throughout this experience. I’m finally myself again,” Marnie summarized.


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