I started playing ice hockey back in high school and have continued to be a passionate player and instructor ever since. I am on the ice on a average 5 times a week, and am no stranger to injuries. During one play, after what seemed like a routine collision, I knew I had sustained a bad concussion. I went to see my local neurologist and the night before Thanksgiving he said that my hockey playing (and even teaching) days were all over for good! He said I could still teach spin classes, though. Besides taking more breaks at work and avoiding physical tasks that require balance, the only other help he could offer was to take acetaminophen for my headaches.
My wife immediately went online to see if HSS had any concussion specialists (we both had seen HSS doctors for orthopedic issues) and she discovered Dr. Teena Shetty and the HSS Concussion Clinic. The first appointment was two months away, and while we waited for that day to come I continued to experience headaches, disorientation, fogginess, mood changes, and a loss for words. I kept taking the acetaminophen but was miserable and could barely get through a dinner with friends. Our regular neurologist had nothing else to offer other than his empathy that these concussions can sometimes be rough.
At our first visit with Dr. Shetty, she said it was too soon to determine whether my hockey days were over or not! But to heal the concussion she immediately took me off of the acetaminophen and “shut me down,” which meant medicinally-assisted sleep of around 16 hours a day, a regimen of vitamins, no work, no exercise, no screen time, no music, no reading, etc. My headaches went away pretty much the next day! Over the course of three months, I met with a team of physical therapists and neuro and cognitive psychologists along with regular meetings with Dr. Shetty and her PA, George, to assess my progress and gradually increase my cognitive and physical activities.
After six months, having healed completely, Dr. Shetty cleared me to return to play my beloved ice hockey and I ended up leading my team in scoring! Unbelievably, almost an exact year later, a car t-boned us right into the passenger side where I was sitting, resulting in another concussion! This time we went directly back to Dr. Shetty where the same protocol was invoked. We were worried that recovery would be worse since I had just recovered from a concussion the year before, but as Dr. Shetty predicted, my recovery period decreased significantly since my brain had been "trained" on how to recover! I was back on the ice by March until the pandemic shut things down again.
I certainly owe my continued playing career to Dr. Shetty and her dedicated team but more importantly, I have seen how easily concussions can occur and if not treated properly and promptly (as I have seen with some of my teammates and colleagues at work) can be extremely debilitating and frustrating. I would strongly urge anyone who thinks that they might have sustained a concussion to schedule an appointment as soon as possible with Dr. Shetty and her team. I am open to being contacted if any reader should have any questions or concerns.