“During our first evaluation with Erika, we were able to identify that neck issues and ocular motor skills (brain-eye coordination) were affected,” said Kurowski. “Once we identified these significant issues, we were able to link her to the most effective treatments that would accelerate her recovery.”
Finding that connection between Erika’s brain and her eyes was crucial, said Felicia.
“If an injury impacts your vision, where you can’t see things as clearly, it affects your attention span. If you can’t focus, whether vision- or attention-related, you don’t comprehend. You don’t retain information and won’t perform well academically.”
Erika made great progress in meeting her functional goals and said she learned a lot during her recovery. As a result, she has improved her grades in the classroom and performance on the lacrosse field.
“I feel like I’m back to my old self and even better as a [lacrosse] player,” she said.
Her mom agrees.
“Erika has the confidence and the self-esteem that she can do it and be even better,” said Felicia.
Erika’s Reminder to Injured Athletes: You Are Not Alone
Mother and daughter both agree it’s important for athletes of all ages never to attempt to hide their injuries but instead talk openly with parents, coaches and teammates.
“I think it’s a very easy thing to fall into a mindset of you are alone, and you are the only one going through this, but that’s not the case,” said Erika.
Thankfully, Erika had many people in her corner during the recovery process, including her family, doctors, care team, therapists and a school services specialist. In particular, though, she recalls the connection formed with physical therapist Anne Lennon. Their time together has Erika thinking about a future career in physical therapy (PT).
Lennon said Erika was a great patient to work with, citing their clinic work as well as Erika’s dedication to performing independent home exercises.
“I think that it’s important to establish a great rapport with kids and teenagers, especially those struggling after a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury,” said Lennon. “I want each person and their family to feel comfortable.”
“With Erika, coming to PT seemed to be a good outlet for her. She was able to talk, smile and laugh freely.”