Sydnie, 20 Years Old, Atlanta, GA

Sydnie, 20 Years Old, Atlanta, GA

At her last career basketball game in February of 2012, Sydnie sustained a concussion following a collision with an opponent.

Concussion Symptomssydnie

Immediately after the hit, she experienced temporary amnesia. Her next memories were vomiting in the locker room and walking through the crowded and loud gym with extreme pain. When Sydnie returned home, she experienced:

  • Pain spells
  • Noise and light sensitivity
  • Difficulty grasping and forming words


Concussion Challenges

The next morning, Sydnie went to her primary care physician and had a CT scan. She was referred to a local concussion clinic where a team of doctors worked to manage her headaches. She underwent an MRI, an EEG, and began going to physical therapy to relieve her pain, but with little success.

At school, she received academic accommodations for students with disabilities. From February to May, Sydnie was able to attend only four days of school, using a wheel chair to accommodate periods of persistent and debilitating neuropathic pain. Sydnie graduated from high school, but because of her injury she was no longer able to go away for college. Instead Sydnie enrolled at a local college so she could live at home and commute.

Over a period of fifteen months, Sydnie went from an independent young woman to being completely dependent on her parents. In May of 2014, her family found a well-respected concussion program in Florida. There, Sydnie took her first ImPACT® test with concerning results. The clinic referred Sydnie to the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program due to the team’s high level of familiarity with concussion.

Managing the Concussion

In June of 2014, Sydnie and her family came to UPMC for the first time. After evaluation, Sydnie learned her symptoms were the result of her injury’s impact on her vestibular and ocular systems. Her concussion also was causing the anxiety and depression she had experienced all along.

For three months, Sydnie worked on both vestibular and physical therapy exercises, including a return to physical exercise. When she had her first day without a headache, the burden of her injury began to lift off of her shoulders.

Concussion Recovery

Sydnie was cleared in September of 2014 when she was symptom free. Sydnie has resumed her active lifestyle while working full time. Next semester, she will return to college and continue working.

“They gave us our daughter back, but they gave Sydnie her life back.” –Alison, Sydnie’s mom

To learn more about our patients, read their stories.


To learn more about our patients, read their stories.