• Concussion Management 101

    October 1, 2016

    A local teenager shares her concussion story: “this can happen to anyone”

    Concussions are fairly common, especially among competitive athletes. But head injuries can happen to any of us when we least expect it. While most concussions heal on their own, recovery requires patience. It’s important to know that healing will take time.

    Aliya Sider, 18, of Oneonta, experienced a series of accidents between 2012 and 2016, including a fall during a jolting stop on a subway. Damage to her brain led to symptoms that resulted in bed rest and a temporary departure from high school. “The cumulative damage led to sudden nausea and dizziness, among other things,” Sider explains.

    Kate Grant, DO, attending physician, Orthopedics and Non-Operative Sports Medicine at Bassett Medical Center, prescribed rehabilitation for Sider that lasted eight months during her junior year. After Sider returned the following school year, Dr. Grant provided her with daily activity plans for recovery. “I couldn’t exercise, read, write, focus my eyes, or even look at my cellphone,” says Sider.

    “Brain injuries occur with sudden trauma, like a blow or jolt to the head,” says Dr. Grant. “They can also occur with whiplash or a fall, and often the event may not seem signifi cant. Imagine an egg in a coffee can. If you hammer the can, the egg will not break, but it will shake inside the can. That’s what happens with the brain inside the skull. It can be injured in a number of ways, resulting in impaired physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral functioning.”

    “You don’t realize that injuries to the brain affect so many signals to your body,” says Sider. “I’ve had trouble with comprehension and memory, ongoing physical symptoms like tinnitus [ringing in the ears] and distorted taste. Many foods, like fruit, taste metallic now.”

    “Concussions must resolve appropriately. The brain will heal in time,” says Dr. Grant. “It is important to rest and follow your physician’s recovery orders to prevent reinjury and further damage.”

    “Eventually, I got a tutor, took my Regents exams and graduated from high school,” says Sider. “It’s been a long road. I still suffer from dizziness and lack balance. I would tell those who are healing from a concussion that this can happen to anyone. Have patience and faith that it will get better.”