Therapy at Good Shepherd Helps Teen Recover from Multiple Concussions
With concussions due to sports injuries in the news, many people are aware of the symptoms – from headache and nausea to dizziness and fatigue – and know that it is important to see a physician if they occur.
But what happens when those symptoms don’t go away? Fifteen-year-old Kayla Danubio suffered a concussion during a family game of kickball in November 2012. Despite seeing her physician and following his recommendations to rest and stay home from school, her symptoms didn’t go away. She experienced a constant headache, eye pain, loss of balance and nausea for weeks after the blow. Advised to avoid television, talking on the phone and physical exertion, she began to retreat from the world.
“It was a difficult time for Kayla and our family,” says Chrissy Danubio, Kayla’s mother. “I didn’t know how to help her. She didn’t see her friends anymore and became depressed. Her sisters were affected too, wondering why everything seemed to revolve around Kayla’s illness.”
Chrissy then learned about therapy for concussion symptoms available at Good Shepherd in Allentown. In early 2013, Kayla began physical, occupational, speech and vision therapy in outpatient Neurorehabilitation, three hours a day, three times a week. Kayla worked on balance, coordination and cognitive skills.
“I was having trouble reading and doing even the simplest math problems,” says Kayla. “I would never have been able to complete ninth grade without the help I received from my occupational and speech therapists at Good Shepherd. I had to relearn the basics.” She completed the school year with tutoring at home.
She gradually began to feel better emotionally and physically. Unfortunately, she had a setback over the summer when she had a second concussion after hitting her head again. But this time she rebounded more quickly and she was able to start tenth grade on time.
Fearful about making friends again and doing well in school, her apprehension soon dissolved when she began socializing, joining clubs and focusing on doing well in her classes. Despite one more setback earlier this year – when she hit her head on her bunk bed – she says she “feels like a whole new person.”
“There were many days when I wanted to give up,” says Kayla. “But I didn’t. I learned that therapy is hard work and that recovery takes time.”