The last thing that Kayla Brown wants anyone to think about her is that she’s weak.

If you know Kayla Brown, at all, you know that assumption is the furthest thing from the truth. However, after recently suffering her sixth concussion, you can’t blame people for that faulty thinking.

“After each one (concussion), my focus got shot down, so I had to work harder with school stuff,” Brown said. “I’ve noticed that people…everybody worries instantly, if I stumble or fall, like I break easily or I’m fragile. It’s just hard, in general, because most of them haven’t had a concussion, so they think, Oh, you just bumped your head.”

With increased notoriety on concussions from professional sports leagues in recent years, and, with that, the increase in research, we know that a concussion is significantly more than a bump on the noggin.

Unfortunately for Kayla, she sustained her first concussion when she was 11 years old, in a youth basketball game. She went up for a layup and her face was the first thing that hit the floor. The next three, also, were sports related. Her last two have come during her freshmen year at Susquehanna University, in what anyone would call freak accidents.

For most people, these ‘accidents’ and the resulting brain trauma would be catastrophic. While Kayla acknowledges what the long-term consequences could be, she continues to forge ahead.

“After my concussion in the fall, they put me on academic rest, which meant I wasn’t able to go to classes or anything else,” Brown said. “I had to sit in a dark room and rest. Which is hard when you live in a college dorm, when there’s parties and people outside your door yelling.”

After two weeks of academic rest, there was no improvement, so doctors sent her home early for fall break. She saw several doctors at home, including a specialist. She ended up staying home for three months. She went through physical therapy, occupational therapy, and then speech therapy. She returned to college for the spring semester, but wasn’t there long when she suffered her sixth concussion.

“My most recent concussion, I felt like I was back at square one,” Brown said. “I don’t think it was as bad as the last one, but I don’t think I was completely healed from the last one.

“I did complete one class in the fall semester,” Brown went on. “I just have to make up classes over the summer and winter break. I’m definitely graduating on time. I don’t think I’m going to have a problem with that. I’m used to rushing to start and to finish stuff because I’m so used to being so far behind.”

This hasn’t been the worst time in Kayla’s life. That would be what would’ve been her sophomore year in high school. Instead of being at school, with her friends, she was homebound for the entire year, because in addition to concussion recovery, she had an added obstacle.

*Come back next Wednesday for Part 2 of “Six of Anything Can’t Be Good”

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