Amanda Kessel shares her concussion recovery story

When gold medalist Amanda Kessel was first diagnosed with a concussion, her recovery meant sitting in a dark room and waiting for her throbbing headaches and nausea to subside. Kessel, a world-renowned ice hockey player, suffered a concussion that kept her benched from the game she loved for nearly two years. Like many athletes first diagnosed with concussion, Kessel’s initial treatment plan included rest and inactivity.

But one year after her injury, Amanda became frustrated that her condition wasn’t improving—she still experienced headaches, nausea, and loss of appetite.

“I was still getting dizzy spells and fogginess. Just really feeling out of it,” Kessel said. “I didn’t know how to get out of it and had very little hope I ever would.”

That’s when she sought the care of the Michael “Micky” Collins, PhD, clinical and executive director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. There, her care team enlisted her in an individualized treatment program that included vestibular and exertional physical therapy.

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After remaining committed to her treatment protocol, Amanda’s debilitating headaches soon begin to decline. She laced up her hockey and returned to competition in.

“I didn’t think [when I arrived at UPMC] that I would be getting on a treadmill and running, and doing all this exertion therapy, which ended up being a key part of my recovery.”

Find out more about Amanda’s Story at the ReThink Concussions website.

About Sports Medicine

Sports and physical activity bring with them a potential for injury. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury – or improve athletic performance – UPMC Sports Medicine and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program can help. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our experts partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and about 100 other high school, college, and regional teams and events throughout Pennsylvania – working daily to build better athletes.