‘I think I’ve got concussion,’ I told my doctor.
As a fourth-year medical student, I’d researched the condition. But my doctor just laughed.
‘That’s not possible,’ he said.
I was convinced of it though. A week earlier, I’d been training for a triathlon at the local pool, when one of my teammates accidentally kicked me in the head.
I didn’t lose consciousness and kept swimming, but later a huge bruise appeared on my eye.
After a quick examination, a doctor said I was fine. The next day, bright lights hurt my eyes and waves of fatigue, dizziness and nausea came over me.
I was also an emotional wreck, bursting into tears without warning. Even walking to the letterbox left me bedridden for the rest of the day.
What was going on?
A week on, I was desperate. It felt like my brain was being squeezed. Finally, I found a doctor who specialised in brain injuries and he had a shocking diagnosis.
‘You’ve got post-concussion syndrome,’ he said.
It’s a complex disorder characterised by headaches and dizziness and can last for months after a concussion.
I'd never even heard of it before!
It was a relief to have an answer, but it hasn’t been easy.
I’ve since been referred to a brain injury clinic for rehab, and four months on, I’m still not back at uni. It’s hard to focus and my head aches constantly.
One good thing, I’m now planning to specialise in brain injuries so I can help others like me.
I’ve since spoken to countless other sufferers who said they were just told to ‘suck it up’. My advice is to trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, get help.
➜ Concussion is a mild brain trauma caused by a blow to the head.
➜ Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome include headaches, insomnia, memory loss and noise sensitivity. Sufferers may also experience emotional changes.
➜ If you are playing sport and are concussed, don’t keep playing. Seek medical attention immediately.
Originally published in that's life! Issue 42, 2016.