Stories From Survivors: Kelsie

This heartfelt and inspirational story was sent to us from a TBI survivor named Kelsie. She shares of how her head injury happened, her struggles with dealing with post-concussive symptoms, and the emotional impact. She is honest about the difficulties that come with TBI, and shares how she learned to continue going despite her difficulties. Thanks for sharing and being an inspiration, Kelsie!


Just 10 months ago I was soaring around the ice rink and throwing myself in the air to land on one foot on a 1/5 inch blade (although I already had a concussion and was not supposed to be). I didn’t have a care in the world. Skating gave me life. Until one day, bang. I was catapulting myself off the ice with my toe pick. During my third rotation, my skates got caught on each other. With a loud crack, my life changed forever.

I don’t remember a whole lot after that. I remember the doctors in the ER being super concerned about the giant cut on my leg that had resulted from my blade stabbing into my knee. I could barely see anything, (I feel like there’s a movie about a figure skater who went blind from hitting her head) and I was convinced I was dead. A couple surgeries later, the doctors had managed to fix my brain bleed and skull fracture. But my TBI was far from over. After being in the hospital for 22 days, I was discharged.

Words cannot describe how difficult and terrible it was at first. I couldn’t skate. Couldn’t walk. Couldn’t go back to school. I missed Prom. I was 16 and I was not allowed to live my life. I spent most days staring at my ceiling wondering why this had to happen to me. Why I had to re-learn how to walk. Why I couldn’t remember most of my friend’s names. Why I couldn’t seem to put together sentences when I knew what I was trying to say. I eventually had to learn to look forwards instead of back. I had to let it be.

After a very, very bumpy recovery (still in progress!), here I am, almost 17, back in school. I get to go back on the ice starting next week. I really didn’t think I would make it this far. Getting over something as terrifying as a TBI was the most mentally challenging thing I’ve ever had to deal with. I still have trouble putting together sentences and trying to make sense. I still have days where I just want to give up. But I know that no matter how hard recovery is, the future holds great things, and I have to keep going.

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