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  • Writer's pictureSurvivor or Caregiver

TBI One Love Survivor Shanna Hayes

Hello, My name is Shanna! 

January 10th, 2016 will be a day I will always 'forget' and yet always remember.  It started as another winter Sunday evening, as I laced up my skates to hit the ice at the Bedford Ice Arena in Bedford, MA with my teammates. 

During the game, I was tangled up with another player, and play was routinely stopped due to the lack of progression being made on either end.  This was the last whistle I heard that day, as I awoke confused and disoriented a few minutes later.  Teammates of mine helped me off the ice and began describing the hit from behind that had occurred after the last whistle, that had left me lying on the ice unconscious.  

Fast forward 2 hours, my teammate had driven me to Manchester, NH where my girlfriend met us.  Upon arrival to the Granite State, I was unable to form a coherent sentence, recite my name, or phone number, and was quickly losing feeling in my extremities.  We quickly headed for Catholic Medical Center, where I was treated and released a few hours later with a concussion and whiplash and referred to follow - up with my Primary Care Physician in a few days.

I saw my primary care physician a handful of times over the next month, getting more frustrated after each appointment came and went.  I was still unable to complete basic functions at home, such as walking up the stairs unassisted, putting my socks on, remembering to brush my teeth, and simply holding a conversation.  I was referred to the Concussion Specialists and Neurology Department at Dartmouth Hitchcock in Lebanon, NH for further evaluation.  

The weeks awaiting my appointment at Dartmouth were numbing.  I was now enrolled in physical therapy to work on repairing my neck muscles, and the simple ability to hold your head up, that we all take for granted.  The week before the appointment was the first report we had received from the league in which I skated in, detailing the referee's account of what had happened.  The referee's incident reported noted that I laid unconscious on the ice for 3 - 5 minutes.  

Upon arrival to Dartmouth I met with a slew of doctors and was officially diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury following my 7th documented concussion and severe Post-Concussion Syndrome.  Their awe of the lack of awareness by others at the rink was an unpleasant sight, given the length of time I was unresponsive.  I began occupational therapy and was referred to another neurologist who specializes in epilepsy and seizure disorders for further evaluation.  

 While recovering, I had resigned from my teaching position at a local NH high school due to my injury's lasting impact on my math skills.  As my neurologist explained it, the knowledge was still in there, but my brain could not decipher where to get it from.  I was lucky enough to land a job in Higher Education a short while later, and began my new career path as I continued recovering.  I still take anti - seizure, migraine, and concentration medicine daily, and am still working through a variety of side effects from my injury. 

In summary, it took me 85 days to return to work, 103 days to be cleared to drive, 261 days to be seizure free (for at least a period of 1 month), and 311 days to lace up my skates again.  I have come so far from the girl lying in the hospital bed who could not walk, talk, or get herself dressed unassisted.  And yet, I would be lying if I said I have plans of stopping here. 

Here's to continuing down recovery road and taking in the growth I have made while discovering the new me! Thank you for letting me join this supportive Family! Please feel free to reach out via my newly created recovery page, Recovery_Road_603 on Instagram. 

Thank you for letting me join this powerful Family!


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