My first college hockey game at St. Olaf College was memorable for all the wrong reasons. A head-on collision with an opponent took me out of the game. As I was assessed by the trainer, I presented with very mild concussion symptoms of a headache and fogginess. I went to bed that night and expected I would be back on the ice within a few days, but my symptoms progressed. I had a continuous headaches, oftentimes progressing to a migraine. I had difficulty concentrating, trouble with short-term memory, neck pain, and, most concerning of all, was numbness and tingling in my hands and feet.
The New Normal?
A doctor advised me to take a few months off of school to allow my brain to rest and heal. Despite the time away from school, my symptoms continued. I underwent brain scans and MRIs of my back and neck, but the results were always the same: normal. I tried chiropractic care, massage therapy, an ophthalmologist, headache specialists, neurologists…but nothing worked.
My symptoms persisted and worsened for over three years and I began to wonder whether it was all in my head. It was a confusing and depressing time for not only me, but my family, who felt helpless in their efforts to help. I felt like my entire college experience was diminished because I never felt good.
Getting Back to the Real Normal
Finally, my medical neurologist at Noran suggested I see Dr. Schmoe at Minnesota Functional Neurology and Chiropractic. I remember him referring to the clinic as magicians, saying “their work produces results even for the toughest of patients.”
When I went to see Dr. Schmoe he helped me immediately by acknowledging and affirming that my symptoms were real.
Dr. Schmoe used cutting edge and innovative approaches to treating my symptoms. For example, for the first time since my injury I was told I should do more than just rest and take medication to improve my symptoms. I wore 3-D glasses as Dr. Schmoe video-taped my eye movements and noticed changes in the way I tracked and held my eyes steady. I used the Dynavision board to improve my hand-eye coordination.
For the first time, I felt that I had a part in my treatment.
Dr. Schmoe also used electrical muscle stimulation to rid my hands and feet of tingling. I paid attention to my diet and what I was putting in my body. I performed balance and vestibular exercises with his chiropractic care. Dr. Schmoe gave me books to read for brain health and would follow up to see if I had practiced exercises at home. He even ran in depth labs to look at underlying metabolic and nutritional issues.
My hockey career had ended three years prior, but with the help of MNFC I am back on the ice I’m an instructor at my father’s hockey camps (Buzzhockey), I helped coach my former team at St. Olaf, and I am back in school pursuing a career in nursing.
For a long time I thought my concussion symptoms would be part of my life forever. This is no longer a concern, thanks to MNFC. I can never thank them enough. They honestly gave me my life back.