Melissa, 15 Years Old, Cleveland, OH

Melissa, 15 Years Old, Cleveland, OH

Melissa, a high school soccer player, sustained four sports-related concussions in her career causing her to experience headaches for over a year. When she felt sharp neck pain, dizziness, and headaches following a hit during a soccer game in November 2014, Melissa’s family was eager to have her evaluated.

Concussion Diagnosis

Melissa was first assessed by her team’s athletic trainer who encouraged her to follow up with her doctor if her symptoms persisted. She then began seeing a local neurologist and started taking medication for headaches with little improvement.melissa

Concussion Symptoms in the Classroom

In school, Melissa was experiencing:

  • Loss of focus and concentration
  • trouble completing homework, as it felt harder and took longer to complete
  • Difficulty with test taking

Frustrated with a lack of progress and the emergence of these new symptoms, Melissa’s mother found and called the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program to schedule an appointment.

Assessing the Concussion

In January 2015, Melissa and her family traveled to Pittsburgh. She took the ImPACT® test and the team developed an individualized rehab plan for her including vestibular and exertion therapy as well as accommodations in school.

Managing the Concussion

After beginning her vestibular and exertion therapy exercises, Melissa finally felt like she had the tools she needed to get better.

“I came here thinking I would be told I could never play soccer again, but after completing my plan at UPMC, I am preparing for spring soccer,” Melissa shares.

Concussion Recovery

Melissa worked on her exercises twice each day. In February 2015, she was finally feeling headache-free and was cleared to return to soccer.


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