Bonnie Stickel Benefits from Vision Therapy after a Concussion

Bonnie Stickel and her husband had been through a lot. After a heart transplant in 2013, her husband’s recovery was long but successful. To celebrate, Bonnie and her family traveled to Houston, Texas, in July of 2014 to take part in the Transplant Games of America, a multi-sport festival for individuals whose lives were saved by a transplant. During that trip, Bonnie took a tour of Houston on a Segway – a tour that detoured her onto her own medical journey.

Hitting a temporary sidewalk edge with the Segway wheel, Bonnie fell backwards and hit her head. Despite wearing a helmet, Bonnie lost consciousness and was taken to a local emergency room. She was cleared by the physicians at that hospital to travel home to Pennsylvania.

A few days after arriving home, Bonnie experienced difficulty concentrating, severe headaches, dizziness and nausea. 

“I felt like I was on a merry-go-round with a migraine and could not stop it,” says Bonnie. “My brain was racing, too, like I had too much caffeine.”

After being diagnosed with a concussion, Bonnie went to outpatient therapy at a local hospital system for three months. She also began cognitive therapy, but Bonnie remembers that things did not feel right. “I felt like a totally different person,” she says.

Bonnie was unable to exercise and take part in the sports she loved – biking, running and tennis. She was still nauseated, was sensitive to light and noise, had little appetite and felt depressed and anxious.

“I tried to go back to work part time last October, but completing the simplest of tasks was very difficult,” explains Bonnie, who had worked as an event coordinator for racquet sports at a local country club. “My brain felt fuzzy and blocked, and I found it difficult to find words in conversations.”

Bonnie says that driving a car made her very nauseous and anxious. She oftentimes would forget where she was going or how to get to a destination, making it difficult to attend family or social events.

“I became a hermit of sorts because I could not take too much stimulation, says Bonnie. “Going out to dinner and selecting food from a menu was a challenge, as was going to the grocery store. I chose not to drive at night because the lights made it difficult.”

Bonnie’s physician recommended vision therapy at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network’s Neurorehabilitation Program. “I was willing to try anything at that point,” she says.

Bonnie was re-evaluated by concussion specialist Kyle Klitsch, D.O., of the Good Shepherd Physician Group. She began vestibular therapy at Good Shepherd Physical Therapy-Macungie before coming to the outpatient Neurorehabilitation Program in Allentown for therapies to help with her concussion symptoms. Bonnie was assessed by a Good Shepherd neuro-optometrist, and started vision therapy and Interactive Metronome® this past spring. Both therapies helped increase her cognitive endurance and helped her again process multiple stimuli.

“Vision therapy changed my life, and I am eternally grateful for my Interactive Metronome therapy,” says Bonnie. “The Good Shepherd therapists have been phenomenal. I finally feel like I have turned the corner on my recovery. I am riding a bike again and doing yoga.

“I had no idea Good Shepherd had a concussion program, Interactive Metronome and vision therapy, but I want everyone to know about it so they can receive the most effective therapy for a concussion,” says Bonnie. “Good Shepherd has been wonderful.”

For more information on Good Shepherd's programs and services, call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422) or contact us.