Nicole Toole’s Concussion Story
I am a 19 year old from Cumming, GA and attend the Georgia State University.
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I have had 1 diagnosed concussions and don’t believe I have had any undiagnosed concussions with my longest recovery being 6-9 months.
I received my concussion during a Friday night basketball game. I went up for a rebound, but instead came tumbling down slamming my head on the court floor. I remember instantly breaking into tears, I knew at that moment that something was very wrong. The trainer who looked at me right after the incident told me that I had a very mild concussion and would be back to playing basketball in a week or two. So, to me from the jump I thought that my brain injury wasn’t serious at all and I didn’t take resting all that serious. It wasn’t until I tried going to school and couldn’t make it through a single day without bawling my eyes out from the pain, that I realized this was something serious. My recovery was very much like a rollercoaster. For a week I’d get better, then I’d somehow over exert myself and have a setback. That was what the majority of the 8 months was like and it became unbelievably discouraging. What changed everything for me was when I found a blog post about a man who had sustained a brain injury from a car wreck. He had had a concussion for almost a year, when his doctor suggested daily exercise along with a strict exercise plan. I was very desperate at this time and decided to try it. I worked out 5 days a week and maintained a nutrient rich diet and over time my symptoms began to decrease and my setbacks became shorter in duration. A few months after I had started it, I was back to being normal. Having a concussion, I believe can be the most lonely experience you can ever have. It’s realizing that you are not alone in your struggles that I believe makes the difference. Healing takes time, but with the right practices in place, you can recover.
Symptoms I experienced through my recovery included headaches, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to noise, feeling like I was “in a fog”, drowsiness, more emotional, irritability, sadness, nervous or anxious, “pressure in head”, dizziness, blurred vision, balance problems, feeling slowed down, don’t feel right, difficulty concentrating, fatigue or low energy, and trouble falling asleep.
Emotionally, the most frustrating aspect of my injury/recovery was not being able to participate in daily life as I was used to.
What I Would Have Done Differently
Immediately after my injury, I wish I would have taken it more seriously. I didn’t know anything about concussions and all my friends told me it wouldn’t last long either. I wish I had stayed home and rested instead of trying to force myself to do normal activities. I think that is the main reason why my condition became prolonged.
Advice I Would Give To Others
Change your mindset. One thing that I found most interesting during my recovery was when I would be crying my eyes out because I was in so much pain, that my headaches would get worsen in intensity. I strongly believe that your emotional and mental stability is also tied to the physical. Therefore if you believe in your heart you will not recover, then you will not. But if you change your mindset believe that you will overcome and make the right actions to properly heal, then that is when you start healing. Mindset is so so soooo important! Be positive, be optimistic, you will recover.
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