The Accident:


In October of 2016 I flew to Chicago to attend my old high school's homecoming. After my friends picked me up from the airport we drove to my friends house and I knew the boy i was going to the dance with was going to ask me that night but I didn’t know how. Once we arrived at my friends house we got out of the car and we immediately heard car sirens going off and suddenly i saw two of my friends run out from the side of the house and put a pillowcase over my head. They picked me up and threw me into the back of a suburban,they quickly took off going about 30mph as i began to roll around in the back. They forgot to fully close the trunk so as I hit the trunk door it flew open and I fell out backwards. I landed on my back very hard but only hit my head lightly. I went to the doctor once I got home and he said I didn’t have a concussion and could keep going about daily life normally.

A couple months later I was in my room and tripped over a chord and hit my head again because I wasn’t able to catch myself quick enough. About a month and a half later I went take the impact test so I could join the lacrosse team. When my scores came back the trainer called my parents and she was very concerned. All of my scores had dropped from the 95th percentile to the bottom one percentile in every category. My family and I were very confused because based on the test scores I would've been a barely functioning person but I seemed fine.

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The trainer had me retake the impact test and it came back with the same scores so they sent me to Saint Barnabas Hospital to get examined by a Concussion specialist. At this appointment the doctor told me I had Post Concussion Syndrome (https://www.americannursetoday.com/post-concussive-syndrome-what-patients-and-providers-need-to-know/) and that it would take anywhere from 2 weeks to a couple of months to correct since every patient is different.


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Effects On My Social Life:


Because I was unable to follow conversations with my friend my social life became very difficult and worse.
Weeks before the injury I had just moved from Chicago to New Jersey so I had to make new friends on top of keeping up my friendships back in Illinois. For months I was very aggravated with myself because I was so antisocial and that’s very unlike me. I began to lose touch with a lot of my friends back home and was struggling to make a lot of new friends but I still had a few close friends in Montclair from when I had lived here a couple years ago. This went on for about 5 months,
Because we all believed I was ok, assumptions about typical teen behavior masked my injury.
Back when I got injured they were very concerned and they took me to the doctor to get examined. After the examination my doctor said I was fine so my parents and I believed him. For weeks to follow I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t focus on any work, and I was constantly getting headaches and nausea. This resulted in me being late a lot and missing a lot of school and my parents were not happy about that. Whenever I would tell them I didn’t feel well they just assumed I was just trying to get out of school and avoid my work so we had many fights.

The undiagnosed symptoms lead to self doubt.

For the following months I pushed my feelings and symptoms under the rug because I knew my parents wouldn't believe me and I even felt a little crazy myself because the doctor said I was fine so I should have been fine.
Even the evidence of science was doubted in light of my initial assessment by the doctor.
After I took the impact test so I could join the lacrosse team the trainer called my parents to say something must be seriously wrong and my parents got very upset with me and thought I had thrown the test for some reason. They had me retake the test and the scores came back the same I had dropped from the 90th percentile in almost every category down to the bottom 1 percentile. At this point my parents started to become concerned but they still thought something was wrong with the test because I seemed fine on the outside.


The trainer sent us to a concussion specialists at Saint Barnabas and they quickly ran me through some very simple eye exercises. They told us the results of these eye exercises are a very clear indicator of a brain injury and they are not something I could fake. After doing about 5 or 6 exercises it was very clear to the doctor that I had post concussion syndrome . They sat my parents down and showed them what was wrong with my eyes and how it was something none of us ever would have noticed on our own but that that's what was causing my symptoms. Words can’t even describe the joy I felt when I heard this. That might sound really odd considering I was told I have a brain injury but it meant that everything I was feeling wasn’t just made up in my head and that there was also an actual reason for why everything was happening. But most of all it proved to my parents that I wasn’t making this up or throwing any tests.

With emotional health I regained physical and mental health.

Right after this is when I was put on total brain rest and things became better with my parents because now they actually understood it. then in February when I was diagnosed I was put on complete and total brain rest for about 2 and a half weeks which meant I had to avoid any stimulation. Stimulation includes bright lights, electronic screens, any loud noises, and physical activity. During this time I was cooped up in my house unable to use my phone very much or really do anything so I became very lonely. Luckily my parents were very supportive of everything that was happening so they took time off work to hangout with me and deal with me missing school and all of my medical work. This time with my parents was very important for me because this concussion had put a little bit of a strain on our relationship.

While being on complete brain rest is a pretty extreme way of treating the symptoms it was the fastest and most helpful way to do it so I was ok with it. After those 2 and a half weeks I began to feel so much better, my friends and parents even noticed the change in me and they’d always say things like “Finally, the old Ally is back”. I started coming to school one period a day for a week and then each week I could add more classes. It was an amazing feeling to have my mind and body feel normal again, I never realized how much I forgot what that felt like. Within those weeks I began to get closer to people, meet new people, and finally reconnect with a lot of my friends back in Illinois and it was the greatest feeling.
But also coming back to school came with a whole other load of issues. I had missed about a month of my junior year and was back in school full time but with a lot of restrictions like the amount i was allowed to read at once, the amount of homework that could be given to me, the type of work I was able to do, and the biggest was I wasn’t allowed to take adderall and as a kid with really strong ADHD that was very difficult.




Cognitive Domain


physical Domain

eyes
couldn't work out

Affective Domain