When I was a kid, I was super active and enjoyed playing sports more than almost anything else. When I was in high school, I was very involved with competitive cheerleading. I was at the gym almost every day, working on learning new skills as well as making my current skills more consistent.

I got my first concussion when I was 16 from tumbling. The recovery was not very long, since this was my first one, and I was able to get back to practicing pretty quickly. Unfortunately, I suffered two more diagnosed concussions in the next year in addition to some smaller head injuries. After the last concussion, I was experiencing severe head and neck pain everyday for months. I also was having to take time off of school and even when I was able to return, my schoolwork was still negatively impacted. The worst part for me though was that I had to stop practicing the sport I loved.

Luckily, I saw a concussion specialist who referred me to Children’s National. At Children’s my neurologist gave me various treatment plan options that my family and I could choose between. He was extremely flexible and understanding of my situation. He referred me to other doctors like physical therapists and massage therapists who also helped me recover. 

Because of Children’s, I was able to slowly ease back into exercising as my symptoms subsided. Although I still suffer lingering side effects of my concussions, I am now healthy enough that I can train and compete with club triathlon here at the University of Maryland. I am lucky that I was able to be treated by such a quality health care system, and I want every child to have the same opportunities and care that I was able to have.