Welcome to Concussion Life – Join the Concussion Community!
Connect with others who have been affected by concussion. Together we will find common spaces by sharing our journeys of healing, stories, struggles and accomplishments. Join the forum discussion where you will find a safe space to ask your questions and contribute your insights. Help us to create a greater awareness of the patient’s and the supporter’s perspective. These are all valuable pieces in the puzzle of concussions. The Concussion Community needs this information to help further our understanding of this invisible injury.
Regardless of how our injuries are sustained, we have a common journey of healing after a concussion. Concussions are Traumatic Brain Injuries. Concussions are invisible. We look normal, we look uninjured, and we look like we don’t struggle. Every brain is unique, every injury is different and every path of healing will be its own. Join us and together we will heal, inspire one another, connect, share and support. Together we are not alone and together we have strength!
It’s time to start, join the Concussion Life discussion! What’s your story?
Someday your pain will become the source of your strength. Face it. Brave it. You will make it.
A little progress each day, week or month will add up to big results, that in time you will see.
It takes a community to heal someone with a concussion.
Of my concussion symptoms, headache was the most dominant and persistent. From the time of the incident to roughly 1,000 days later, the headache was always there. Sometimes it manifested as overall pressure in my head, sometimes at the front, [...]
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There is help out there
No journey or path of healing will be identical. Sorting out what will aid your healing can be overwhelming. Here are some effective resources that have been helpful to those who have suffered a concussion(s).
Guest Speaker / Spotlight
My name is Keith Yeates, and I’m really pleased to be asked to contribute to the Concussion Life website. I direct the University of Calgary’s Integrated Concussion Research Program, or ICRP, which is a campus-wide initiative that cuts across multiple faculties and research institutes. Our vision is to be an internationally-recognized centre that drives evidence-based care and improves outcomes for individuals with concussion. I invite you to learn more about the ICRP at our website, icrp.ucalgary.ca. One very important goal of the ICRP is community and patient engagement, and the development of the Concussion Life website is an important step [...]
November 9, 2014 my world changed in a second. As I was getting out of my vehicle, about to open the door for my kiddos, that’s when it happened. I was standing on an icy, inclined driveway and with a single step I slipped on the ice, falling backwards with acceleration and hit the back of my head on cement.
My husband helped me up, I listened to my children cry and walked in our home. Instantly, I had a pounding headache and was unable to rotate my head side to side. Away in an ambulance I went, with a cervical collar on and was handled by the medical staff with spinal precautions as they were unsure if anything was broken or fractured. My head and my cervical spine were x-rayed and later cleared (no fracture/no break). I was experiencing nausea, dizziness, difficulty standing on two feet, headache, light sensitivity, pain from the top of my head going to my lower back and I was tired. I was later released with the diagnosis of a concussion and a whiplash injury. I received an information sheet about concussions, lists of activities to avoid and to seek medical care for any change(s) in my side effects.
My journey began and a journey that I am still on to this day.
My side effects are my struggles. My side effects are debilitating. My side effects halted my life to a complete stop and I have been rebuilding my life since then. This is a journey I never planned for in my life. My world has changed.
On a daily basis, I live with my side effects. I am very light sensitive to ALL light, including the sun, lights in any store and household lights. ALL sources of lights including LED (light-emitting diode) and fluorescent lights cause piercing sharp pain in my eyes, the front part of my head and my face. I have debilitating headaches and migraines. My headaches/migraines were constant for an entire first 5 months and still struggle to today. I experience 3 different types of headaches, some radiate from the back of my neck, wrap over my head and into my face. Some start with my eyes and work into the front part of my head. Some are shooting pains that randomly pierce my head whenever and wherever. My sleep and my body’s need for rest/sleep requirements have increased dramatically since I fell. I fatigue so very easily. For the first eight months, only sleep was filling most my days and I could not stay asleep at night. With my inactivity, I have lost muscle mass and endurance. I experience ringing in my ears (Tinnitus) and is deafening while it lasts. Simple tasks like reading, tying up skates, making a meal, getting groceries, laundry etc. are difficult. My cognitive thinking, concentration, short-term memory and speech all suffered in an awful way. My balance system has beyond struggled, simply walking is difficult and all activities using my feet are so greatly challenging. I feel as though I’m on a ship, like I’m inebriated and like my body is floating. The communication between my brain and my eyes is not working as it once did. My driving a vehicle and my independence of running errands on my own is no longer. My brain is so easily overwhelmed with information from my surroundings that it can be difficult just having a conversation with someone. My moods have been undesirably affected. When your life has been ultimately tipped upside down and felt like it has been taken away, it is no wonder I struggle with a huge lack of patience, an increase in frustration, and often quick response of anger and sadness.
Not only has my concussion affected my life, but those who are closest to me: my husband, my kids, my parents, and my friends. My ability to be a wife is different now and my husband’s role has had to compensate for the lack of mine at times. My ability to be the best mom to my kids has suffered. For example, I’ve had many days where I’m disappointed in myself and frustrated because I can’t help them with their “simple” homework. My kiddos are resilient. My kiddos understand when mommy can’t watch them in their activities. Thankfully my parents are retired, but I’m sure they didn’t imagine their retirement driving me to all my appointments, giving up their time to drive their grandchildren to their activities and helping me daily with my needs. My friends see me for who I am, a person who has not fundamentally changed in the deepest parts of my soul. They have been understanding when music, noise or just conversation is too much for me.
I’ve had days where I can’t cope and I have had days where I wanted to give up. I’ve tried my best to be hopeful, to be an optimist, yet those are easily overshadowed with my side effects seeming to plateau. I’ve expected a very fast recovery. I’ve asked when will I heal? My ability to work has been unfortunately affected. I have a medical background as a Respiratory Therapist. I have not been able to work in the same capacity.
As one can see, feel, and understand that concussion affects every single moment in a person’s life, every part a person’s being and now mine.
Today, I practice to “Just Be”. To stop comparing myself to what I once was and to stop expecting beyond what my body is capable of. This means I work hard at achieving positive goals and goals that are within my reach. I work with my side effects to stay physically healthy and to stay mentally healthy. I have hope! I work hard with medical professionals always seeking improvement. I know how to not give up. I know how to ask for help. I know the physical work it takes to see improvement. I understand the mental health and how challenging it is. I have earned where I am today because of the work I have put in. I know how to celebrate my daily successes, whether they are small or big. I’ve learned to accept wearing sunglasses and a hat when I’m in public, in my home or visiting with friends. I’ve learned to pace myself. I’ve learned acceptance. I’ve learned not to compare myself to other journeys of healing. I’ve learned to accept mine.
With the help of my family, my friends and medical professionals I am where I am today. There are no words that will carry the weight of my gratitude. The simplicity of me saying “THANK YOU” carries more meaning than I will ever be able to express to each of you. I’m grateful for all the individuals that I have met and shared their stories, you have inspired me. With my friends and my family at my side, this website is possible. I would like to thank Jules and the team from iNet Media for their amazing work on this website. Without them, this would not be possible! I am forever grateful for their work, donation of time and providing individuals who are affected by concussion a place to connect.
Thank you for reading to my story. Together we will heal. We are not alone.