My name is Stephanie O’Brien, and I attend Wesleyan University, where I play ice hockey; here is my concussion story. On January 10, 2020, I got a concussion that prohibited me from participating in the remainder of my season. In the first shift of the game, I got punched in the face and immediately felt nauseous, disoriented, and in pain. Against my better judgment, I played the rest of my game and got hit again in overtime before seeking help from my athletic trainer. For weeks, I experienced a myriad of symptoms: constant headaches, disorientation, confusion, inability to track objects with my eyes, light/noise sensitivity, and nausea. I had to wear sunglasses inside and outside, avoid loud or busy places, and rest for hours a day. I was transformed from this energetic, involved, and happy person to one that was reserved, isolated and stressed. The injury lasted for three months and was incredibly draining. I eventually recovered after seeking the help of a concussion specialist and doing concussion physical therapy. While it was a scary and emotional experience, it taught me a great deal about embracing hardship and channeling that adversity towards self-improvement.
* Originally published on December 28, 2020, by Stephanie O'Brien