As a seasoned professional baseball catcher, David Ross considers getting hit by foul tips, pitches — and sometimes bats — part of his job.
During an afternoon game in May of 2013, David experienced multiple blows to his head from high-speed foul tips.
After taking a week off to recover, he returned to play but was again hit in the head by a foul ball.
Witnessing firsthand the changes in his interactions with their kids and friends, David's wife Hyla urged him to seek treatment.
David's symptoms included dizziness, headaches, and intense mood changes — such as anger, sadness, and anxiety.
David had testing, including a vestibular ocular motor screening (VOMS) to gauge the severity of his injury.
“Going in and talking to him — my wife was there with me — I remember getting emotional, telling him how I was feeling. I finally let my guard down a little bit. I remember him doing some tests. The best thing I can say about him and the facility is they show you that you're hurt."*
David recalls feeling relieved and inspired when Dr. Collins told him that his injury wasn't career-ending. Dr. Collins also told him that, in time, he would feel better and return to the game.
“He gave me a plan. That's why he knows athletes so well is we work better…with small steps," David says.
The UPMC concussion team designed a personalized rehab program to help David recover. He says that his treatment plan at UPMC allowed him to play an active role in his recovery.
The approach helped him avoid negative thoughts and channel his energy into getting better and getting back to the game he loves.
In August of 2013, after three months of hard work, David was finally symptom-free. By following his treatment plan, he was back behind the plate to catch during the final out of the 2013 championship series.
“If you don't rehab the brain, how is it supposed to get better? How is it supposed to get back to knowing what to do on the baseball field?," says David.
*Quote taken from an ESPN article with Dr. Collins, David Ross, and other concussion patients.