Prior to October 13, 2011, 17-year-old Madeline Uretsky was a four-sport athlete, straight ‘A’ student, member of many extracurricular clubs, winner of several academic awards and invited to attend student leadership conferences. A self-proclaimed positive person, proactive and enthusiastic student and lover of family and friends, Madeline’s life flipped upside down after she suffered two concussions within months of each other.
In May 2011, Madeline bumped the top of her head while getting into a car, causing her a slight headache. Her doctor told her she had a very minor concussion. Only a few months later during an October soccer game, Madeline fell forehead first onto the grass while sprinting after the ball. She sustained whiplash as her head made contact with the ground more than once. She did not lose consciousness, but left the game because she, “just didn’t feel right.”
A hospital visit revealed that she suffered a serious concussion, and she began to experience symptoms like a ‘foggy feeling,’ fatigue, confusion, sensitivity to light and noise, disorientation and inability to sit up or hold her head up. She began experience sharp pains all over her head, ringing in her ears and a constant severe headache. Her family started referring to all of her symptoms as “the factory.”
“One of the most concerning times was when I could not say the days of the week or the months of the year in order for three months when asked to do so,” says Madeline. “And now, over a year later, ‘the factory’ or symptoms is still present, but thankfully less severe.”