Emma Carter’s Battle to Conquer TBI
However, as the soccer season concluded and she transitioned back into school for finals, Emma began to complain of concussion-like symptoms not originally detected when she was evaluated after the November soccer game. It became evident that she could not concentrate and she reported daily headaches coupled with balance and vision difficulties. Eventually, she was diagnosed with a concussion in January of 2016, her second from in-game play.
And as Emma’s concussion symptoms became worse, her focus worsened as well. When trying to read, words would move and jump around on the page and she was unable to retain information.
This lead her to withdraw from school in March, and eventually, from everyday life, as she showed worsening neurocognitive deficiencies when trying to participate in conversations with her friends and family.
Having hit a stagnation point in her recovery process, Emma was referred to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Initial assessments confirmed that Emma would need to engage in an aggressive rehabilitation program to regain cognitive abilities.
With aspirations of studying Genetic Engineering, Emma put her dreams on hold given her new reality — one where she needed to reset her expectations and learn to set new limits when studying and performing daily activities, as well as the cost of being able to achieve said goals.
But, as she comes to terms with accepting the changes in her life, Emma wonders, ” when will I feel better? ” and her mother Kelly is worried about how they’ll foot the bill.
This GOFundMe Emma Carter TBI Page is being setup by the Chicago Kickers Soccer Club to help provide Coach Kelly Carter, a mother of three children with financial assistance in this time of need.
Emma still experiences intense headaches and head pain. She is learning new methods to help reduce pain and increase overall functionality. Emma participates in counseling sessions designed to reduce pain. She continues to work towards active participation in conversations and she is learning new methods to improve engaging in communications.
Her daily routine includes more structure, with specific time segments, tasks and details. She begins her day with calming stretches and breathing exercises, followed by breakfast and general preparation for the day. She reads for three minutes at a time while sitting at a desk with weights on her lap. The weights help her feel grounded and keep her from feeling dizzy, which improves her ability to focus on what she is reading. The rest of the day includes more activities of daily living with therapeutic methods and specific details to improve her functionality.
Emma has joined a Facebook group consisting of females under twenty-five years old who are suffering from long term concussion issues. The group has allowed for sharing of stories, peer support and an understanding that she is not alone in the fight to get better.
Words from Kelly Carter: "The Doctors have said that Emma is a fighter and doing well. They are proud of her work ethic, but it will take time for her to regain functional levels again. As her mom and caregiver, I could not be more proud. I am also honored by the outpouring of support from friends, family and the community. It has been the hardest thing I have ever been through. I miss her, she misses life, but together we find strength to keep moving forward through each other and with the support of our village of fighters and prayer makers. All I can say is thank you for you!"
This story is about My Emma. I share this so her struggles this last 14 months can be shared with others. I implore you to share this post if not for donations but also for her story. TBI is called the 'invisible disability'. It can not be seen or touched. Those who have not experienced don't always understand. However, I can reassure you, there is no other greater strength than those suffering and fighting everyday to let go of who they were and relearn who they are & what they can do now. Please hug your loved ones! In a moments notice, the world can change. Thank you Dave and the Chicago Kickers for embracing her as your own. Every athlete, youth, parent, coach should know.....tomorrow is not another day, tomorrow is a gift. Live it fully, respectfully and smile at the Sun!