Eli | Port Allegheny, PA

Eli | Port Allegheny, PA

In January 2017, seventh grader Eli, 13, was having a snowball fight with a friend when he slipped on an icy sidewalk and hit his head on the cement. Eli got up and walked to a set of steps but then lost consciousness. His friend rushed to get him an ice pack. Eli came to and seemed to be okay, so he and his family went out to eat.

During dinner, Eli kept asking the same questions over and over again:

  • “How did I get off the ground after I fell?”
  • “How did we get to the restaurant?”

Eli’s mom, Crystal, suspected he was concussed so she took him to the emergency room. At the hospital, Eli underwent a balance test and was officially diagnosed with a concussion. He was told to rest but to not play games or use the phone or television.

“Eli is a very active kid so when he was told not to play games or use electronics, he became depressed,” says Crystal.

Concussion Symptoms

While concussed, Eli experienced the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Fogginess
  • Excessive headaches

When Eli started to gain weight on top of his concussion symptoms, his mom said she knew that he needed “more specialized care.”

Concussion Treatment

Crystal expressed her concerns to Eli’s primary care physician, who then referred him to Micky Collins, PhD, clinical and executive director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. Dr. Collins had Eli perform the ImPACT® test to determine a baseline for his concussion symptoms.

Additionally, Eli would participate in vestibular rehabilitation to help with his dizziness. To help with his blurred vision, he had ocular therapy at a UPMC Centers for Rehab Services location near his home.

Concussion Recovery

In April, just three months after his accident, Eli was cleared of his concussion by Dr. Collins. His vestibular and ocular therapy was successful, and he will be able to get back to playing the sports he loves, like football and basketball.

“I’m happy that Dr. Collins was able to help me feel better,” says Eli. “I really missed sports so I’m glad that I’m able to play football this fall.”


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