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Amanda's Story: World-Renowned Ice Hockey Player Recovers from Concussion

The Challenge: Nausea, Headaches, and Other Concussion Symptoms

When Amanda Kessel first came to the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, she'd been suffering from concussion symptoms for over a year.

Amanda, a world-renowned ice hockey player, got a concussion during a game.

Her symptoms were:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite

Amanda's first treatment required her to sit in a dark room and rest.

But after months of continued symptoms, she began to lose hope that she would ever feel normal again. That is until she sought the help of Dr. Michael “Micky" Collins, director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program.

The Solution: Vestibular and Exertional Therapy

Amanda didn't know what to expect when she first came to UPMC. But she said she soon found the active and customized treatment plan very effective.

“It's different than what you grow up hearing about," said Amanda. “Sitting in a dark room, not being on your phone, no working out or being active. I really had no idea and didn't understand that [concussions] are treatable."

Amanda committed to her new treatment, which included vestibular and exertional therapy.

The Results: Back in the Hockey Rink

Not long after starting treatment, Amanda noticed huge improvements in her health and finally felt like herself again.

Doctors cleared her to return to competitive ice hockey, something she'd thought would never happen during the worst of her symptoms.

Amanda reflected on her concussion journey: “There was a year of my life that I didn't even think I would ever play hockey again," she said. “What I'd worked my entire life for I didn't think I'd be able to achieve because of this concussion. It really was life changing meeting Dr. Collins."

Read more stories from concussion patients.