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Danielle Share This OHSU Content

Danielle

 

“With a brain injury, no one can see that you are hurt on the outside and it is hard for people to understand.”

 

The Accident

Danielle was a sophomore in high school who was always on the go. She played soccer, lacrosse, and basketball for her high school. Needless to say, she was thrilled to have recently passed her driving exam. One day while enjoying her new driver’s license, she was picking up her younger sisters from a play date with friends. While absentmindedly waiting at a left turn lane, she was shocked to hear a loud boom and feel the car shake. She didn’t know what had happened but when she looked in the rear view mirror, she saw that a car had rear ended her. Looking into the backseat, she saw her sisters both crying. She called 911 and waited for emergency crews to arrive. She and her sisters were taken to the hospital immediately.

Not whiplash After All

At the hospital, she had been told that she had whiplash. In the weeks following the accident, Danielle spent all of her time on the couch. She suffered from headaches, dizziness, sensitivity to light and sound, and extreme fatigue. A few weeks later, she attempted to return to sports but knew that something wasn’t right. She visited her school’s athletic trainer who performed a concussion screening on her and identified that Danielle was suffering from a concussion. In the months that followed, Danielle spent many hours resting at home and giving her brain time to heal. She underwent occupational and speech therapy.

Returning to School and Sports

Today, Danielle has returned to school full-time as well as sports. She is back on the soccer team and is looking forward to the rest of her senior year. Her sisters also suffered because of the crash and as she shares her own story, she also details the impact that concussions have had on the rest of her family. She hopes that as she shares her story with other students, they can learn the importance of being an attentive driver.