During Mother's Day weekend 2017, 13-year-old Zeke and his family were in New Jersey for his inline hockey club tournament.
During the game, Zeke got pushed hard into the dasher boards. By the time he made it back to the bench, he felt dizzy and had an awful headache.
He'd suffered headaches in the past after hitting his head, so he didn't think much of it since they'd always resolved.
But this time, Zeke's headache lasted all day, and he was throwing up a lot.
Two days later, Zeke went to his pediatrician in Pittsburgh, who told him, “you're going straight to the top." Zeke's doctor referred him to Micky Collins, PhD, director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program.
Dr. Collins had Zeke take the ImPACT® test. The results showed he had a convergence insufficiency, or blurred vision, which may have been present before the concussion.
“Dr. Collins explained that Zeke's injury during the hockey game heightened the preexisting vision problem," says Zeke's mom, Deanna.
Zeke began vision — or ocular — therapy soon after, both at home and at the concussion program. He also got a prescription for glasses, which Zeke says helped his eyesight “immensely."
“Before Zeke saw Dr. Collins, he'd been having some trouble with school, and we were getting him extra help," says Deanna. “Dr. Collins was encouraging from day one. He said Zeke might do better in school after the concussion because it brought his vision issues to the forefront."
“Sure enough, after finding and correcting the vision problem, his grades started to improve in reading and math. Maybe his concussion was a blessing in disguise, in a way," Deanna says.
Throughout the summer, Zeke stayed active but didn't play any contact sports. He stayed committed to getting better. In the fall, he started playing inline hockey and lacrosse again.
“Dr. Collins is really nice. He spent as much time with me as I needed since I had a lot of questions," says Zeke. “I never felt rushed during my visits with him, and his care was great. I'm just glad I'm feeling better now, and I'm really glad that my eyesight is better, too."