Jarrod | Gibsonia, PA

Jarrod | Gibsonia, PA

Jarrod Gato_finalJarrod, 17, is no stranger to concussions obtained while playing hockey. A five-year veteran of the game, he had already sustained two during his time as a defenseman on his school’s team. In January 2016, halfway through the second period of a game, Jarrod collided with another player. He fell backward and hit his head, breaking his helmet. The damaged helmet was visual proof of just how hard his head had hit the ice. Jarrod said he almost immediately had a headache, yet chose not to say anything to his coach for fear of being taken out of the game.



Once home, Jarrod spent the whole night unable to sleep due to the intensity of his headache, nausea, and dizziness. In the morning, he admitted the concussion symptoms to his mother, Mary, who immediately knew what to do. The duo went to Urgent Care and were referred to Micky Collins, PhD, at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program.



Jarrod anticipated a much different course of treatment than what he received. During his previous two concussions, he been told to stay in a dark room, sleep all of the time, and avoid electronic devices. However, Dr. Collins’ plan for Jarrod’s latest concussion involved rounds of vestibular and ocular therapy and focused on an active lifestyle that gently stimulated the parts of his brain affected by his concussion. Jarrod and his mother were both pleased with the plan, and how well Jarrod adapted to it.


“This treatment plan made it so much easier to get him to do the things that he needed to get better,” said Mary


Jarrod was equally impressed and said, “With my previous two concussions, I wasn’t able to do anything and I never felt like my symptoms went away as quickly as I hoped they would. With this last concussion, as I did the therapy prescribed by Dr. Collins, I felt myself improving.”


His mother agreed, stating, “I believe him being able to actually see and feel the progress he was making really encouraged him to keep working hard to get 100% better.”



Jarrod was thrilled when he was cleared of his concussion by Dr. Collins. When asked what he was going to do next, he grinned and said, “Hockey starts in two weeks! I’m really looking forward to getting back out there for my senior year.”


He has an important piece of advice for fellow young athletes: “If you think you might have sustained a concussion, tell someone right away. Tell a parent, a coach, a trainer, anyone. You’ll have lots of long, sleepless nights if you don’t speak up.”


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