Joshua Robert Becker’s Concussion Story
I am a 16 year old from Winfield, IL and currently attend Wheaton North.
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I have had 3 diagnosed concussions and I believe 4 more undiagnosed with my longest recovery being 9-12 months.
Symptoms I experienced through my recovery included headache, “pressure in head”, neck pain, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, blurred vision, balance problems, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to noise, feeling slowed down, sadness, irritability, more emotional, nervous or anxious, trouble falling asleep, drowsiness, confusion, fatigue or low energy, feeling like “in a fog”, don’t feel right, difficulty concentrating and difficulty remembering
Emotionally, the most frustrating aspect of my injury/recovery was not being able to participate in daily life as I used to.
The Full Story
My first concussion was back in 2014 when I was kickboxing in a tournament and I got knocked out. My family and I thought nothing of it and didn’t know much about concussions. Within a few days I couldn’t do anything: read, write, I was dizzy, nauseous, light headed, tired, etc. I came back to fighting within 7 months of recovery time. My other two were also from fighting so I stopped. My latest concussion was misdiagnosed as a mild concussion and this happened February of 2017. The doctors thought it was nothing and let me go back to school. Two days later I had every symptom you can think of and I went back to the doctor. My doctor immediately called me into the hospital and I was transported there. I ended up getting another CT Scan due to the doctors thinking I had spinal fluid leaking and I wasn’t able to walk. The professional diagnosed me with severe TBI and I was terrified.
The doctors told me they have never seen a head injury like this before because I lost all feeling in my body waist down. I wasn’t able to stand, walk or even move my legs properly. I ended up having to go through speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy and vestibular therapy. I was going to Marian Joy 4x a week in order to get better. I had to relearn how to walk again as well as learn how to properly move my legs. I was scared because the doctor’s thought I would never be able to walk again. By the very last week of April, I started taking my first steps without falling over and being able to walk straight. It was truly a miracle speaking I was in a wheelchair most of my time outside of therapy. My friends were very supportive and helping me walk when I didn’t use my wheelchair. They would keep me positive and help me through every day activities. My coach for kickboxing would visit me once a week to catch up and see how my progress was going and my powerlifting coach was helping me with my therapy exercises.
By early May, I was cleared to do all activity again and was walking normal and able to feel my legs, it was truly a miracle through this scare and the doctors were so amazed I was able to get my sensation back in my legs because they had a lot of doubt. Throughout this time, especially in the beginning I was devastated and crying quite a bit because after hearing I will most likely never walk again was the biggest scare of my life. I was so sad, frustrated, and mad at everything because I kept thinking about how life would be in my wheelchair for my life. Toward the end I was getting anxious to get back to my normal life and get out and see everybody again.
To this day I wish I quit kickboxing sooner because it isn’t worth screwing up your life for a sport. Sports can only get you so far and there are way more important things to live for. After all these concussions, doctors already say I have memory loss and early stages of dementia.
Advice I have to all people in the world is that your life is more important than activities. You need to stay positive even when it gets tough. Your family, friends, and others will always support you but you need to let them help you. It truly is amazing how caring people can be. You should always talk to family and friends especially since you’ll feel like an outcast to the world since you need time away to recover.
Also, having hope is a huge impact on your recovery time. Having hope can make miracles happen as it did to me. Thinking I would never walk again was terrifying but I had hope, and here I am today doing more than I did before. A month after I got cleared to go back to activity, I won nationals in my age and weight division in powerlifting! Stay positive, have hope, and your recovery will seem quicker than it is.
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