Who Am I?

About me

I am a 21 year old photographer, sailor, rescue diver, and entrepreneur. Unfortunately, when I was 16 I faced a life changing head injury, giving me a massive concussion and a fractured neck. Over the next few months I hit my head 4 more times, amplifying my injury severely. I developed post concussion syndrome, and my life came to a grinding halt.

My Injury

Everyday I was facing massive headaches, irritability, depression, fatigue, and severe nerve pain. I had a team of doctors from some of the best medical institutions in the world working on my recovery. One of my doctors told me he was going to through medication at the wall hoping something stuck. I tried 20+ very strong medications to treat my pain and symptoms. None of these medications did anything for me but provide temporary relief. In fact, the side effects of the medicine where so strong that I decided to stop using them all together. They brought, anxiety, confusion, loss of words, panic attacks, depression, fatigue, and many other issues.

Switching Gears

 After failing to recover with western medicine, I was forced to look for alternative treatments. I started seeing a chiropractor, a neuromuscular therapist, a doctor of osteopathy, an acupuncturist, a hypnotherapist, a massage therapist, and a physical therapist. Some of these treatments were better than others. Seeing all these doctors and specialists taught me so much about concussions and post concussion syndrome. What was absolutely crucial in my recovery was believing that I could get better. I've been through a crazy journey over the past few years, and I really want to share how I got better. 

Finding Myself 

In the aftermath, I had a transformational life experience. I took all that I had learned about life and set out to adventure. I took a gap year before attending university in California. I backpacked throughout Europe by myself, sailed more than 1500 miles in the Caribbean, attained my rescue diver license, and received many sailing certifications. Since my injury, I have traveled more than 87,000 miles on 3 different continents, passionately documenting all my experiences. 

Persevering 

During my injury, I was taken away from everything in my life that I loved. I promised myself that I would find a way out of the crippling pain, and back into the sport I loved the most. Post injury I've coached competitive sailing to everyone from beginners to varsity sailors. I hold my level one, two, and  three U.S. Sailing coaching certifications. I am certified in first aid and CPR by the American Red Cross. I hold my IYT navigation masters, vhf operator license, and sailing certification. I've sailed since I was 11 years old. It's a passion of mine that I will absolutely carry with me for the rest of my life. It has taken me all around the world, bringing me to some of the coolest places on earth. This is my story, check it out. 

Why I took the SAT's Concussed, and why you shouldn't.

First, A Bit Of Background

Growing up on the coast of Maine I was surrounded by the sailing community. Its culture of perseverance had engrained itself in me since I was young. I pushed through the freezing weather and battled heavy winds just to compete in the sport that I grew to love so much. I was uneducated on the subject of concussions, I knew they could have a strong effect, seeing some of my closest friends take a hit by the boom. I remember thinking, what my friends went through would never happen to me. (My Naive 16 year old self)

How I Got The Concussion 

 During the spring of my junior year, I was ending practice, and sailing into the dock with my best friend. As I approached an average upwind landing, I prepared  for the glide zone(an area where you have enough momentum to let your sails out and "glide" into the dock). I had done a less than stellar landing, but I expected my crew to hop off the boat and catch us on the dock. It was certainly my fault,  I hadn't gotten us close enough. We had missed the opportunity and our boat was swiftly drifting away from the dock. I stood up, and out of frustration pushed the tiller hard to port...  the boom whipped over and smashed my brain's left hemisphere with 15 kts of power. Imagine a baseball bat hitting you in the head at 17.4 miles per hour. I fell to the bottom of the boat, staying conscious, and instantly knew I had sustained a concussion. Feeling really drunk without the buzz, topped off with a splitting headache, I went to lie down on the ground. I rested while everyone else was de-rigging. Honestly I had know idea what I was in for on, I just pushed through the practice debrief in the spirit of no pain no game.

TAKING THE SAT'S THE NEXT DAY 

Somehow I was able to drive myself home without getting in a crash, something I strongly urge against. I told my parents what happened, and they were pretty much just as in the dark on concussions as I was. They told me to get some rest, as I had a big day ahead of me. I told them I could go through with it. I took the SAT's with a full blown concussion. I suffered through 6 hours of testing with a throbbing headache, and a huge feeling of what the hell am I doing here.. As each hour passed, my headache grew stronger and stronger. Of course, If I had a time machine I would not go through with taking this test with a concussion. It really set my recovery back. The weekend passed and I was still in throbbing pain. I went to school on monday just to take the famous concussion test. No surprise here, it was very clear I had a concussion. The school nurse, who actually ended up being a huge savior of mine, told me to go home and shut off all stimuli. When she found out I had taken the SAT's on Saturday, she FREAKED out. What the hell was I thinking... I missed 3 weeks of school immediately after the test because I was in such severe pain and disorientation.  Words of advice, If you ever get a concussion make sure you don't take the SAT's the day after.  

You're Probably wondering what my score was??

I got a 1580 out of 2400... not the best score by any means, but hey... I had a concussion 

Let me know what you think... 

 

Disclaimer:

This article is purely informational. I am not a doctor, though I am a patient. This is not advise.