Sharon N. | Pittsburgh, PA

Sharon N. | Pittsburgh, PA

In June 2015, Sharon fell down a flight of steps while taking a shortcut through a parking lot on her way to work. After being knocked unconscious, she awoke slightly disoriented, bleeding from her head, and in need of help to walk to work.

Immediately after arriving at work, Sharon’s supervisor drove her to the emergency department where she was evaluated and given a CT scan of her head. Her test results appeared negative for any serious issues and she was released from the hospital; however, she was provided with a handout on concussion symptoms and was instructed to see her primary care physician if symptoms persisted.

Concussion Symptoms

Over a week later, Sharon continued to experience several concussion symptoms including:

  • Memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Decreased concentration
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Difficulty focusing and maintaining balance

After scheduling an appointment with her doctor, she was officially diagnosed with a concussion and referred to the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program.

Concussion Assessment

Sharon’s concussion was assessed by Micky Collins, PhD, and the concussion team. At her first appointment, Sharon underwent a full evaluation and took the ImPACT® test. The team created a rehabilitation plan specific to Sharon’s concussion that included vestibular and ocular therapy. Due to the severity of her symptoms, Sharon was unable to work and took time off to recover.

Concussion Management

Sharon summarizes how she felt prior to beginning her rehab, “It’s an invisible problem people can’t see. They think nothing is wrong with you. You don’t see it so it’s hard to understand, but it affects everything. You’re a whole different person.”

Working hard at home to complete her exercises, Sharon made significant progress on her rehab plan; she was able to return to work part-time with accommodations. Balance and vestibular exercises improved what she calls her, “real life stuff,” like watching TV, walking the dog, driving, and going to the mall.

Concussion Recovery

After months of rehabilitation, Sharon was cleared by Dr. Collins. She has returned to work and maintains her normal lifestyle.


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