Patient Contributors 

 

 The Athletes

Shawn Dollar (Pro Big Wave Surfer) - Dollar is a two time Guinness World Record Holder holder for the biggest wave ever surfed. He sustained a brain injury on Sept 7th 2015, Labor Day, while surfing alone in Big Sur. You can read more of his concussion story on his website shawndollar.com. Dollar has shared his experiences with Neuro ProloHyperbaric Oxygen TherapyCranial Chiropractic or Cranial OsteopathHormone TherapyStem Cell Therapy and Diet. Instagram: @shawndollar

Nic Lamb (Pro Big Wave Surfer) Lamb, current Mavericks champion and back to back champion at Punta Galea, sustained a concussion while surfing big waves in Portugal. He used HBOT to help heal his concussion. Instagram: @theyounglamb

Thomas Lundgard (Big Wave Surfer) Lundgard is an up and coming big wave surfer. He’s had three really bad head injuries, two at mavericks (big wave located in CA) and one on a speed boat. Since then he has had about 5-7 minor concussion from surfing.  He has reviewed HBOT, CBDcranial work and diet. Instagram: @thomas_lundgard

Harley Rose Taich (surfing) was born in La Jolla, California. Surf, sand and the mother ocean provided comfort to Harley, and soon after, joy, when she received a pink surfboard, shaped by her father, on her fourth birthday. Harley surfed competitively from age eight until age fifteen, when she sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) during a competition.  Five years post injury, Harley no longer competes, but supports, encourages and shares her story with others suffering and recovering from similar injuries. Harley is currently back in school to get certified as a Holistic Nutritionist and yoga teacher. She is also a certified colon hydrotherapist and author of a children's book, "Heads Up! The Story of Finn and Reef" A concussions book for children. Taich has contributed reviews for Exercise, Infrared Sauna and Cold plunge, Hyperbaric Chamber, Meditation and Yoga, Diet, Neurofeedback, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Colon Hydrotherapy and Acupuncture. Instagram: @harley_rosee

Quentin Williams (Football) Quentin played football from age 7 through college at age 23, sustaining a concussion his senior year of college at Northwesern University in Evanston, IL. He was seeing double with a ringing in his ears running down the field after taking a high speed, routine hit to the head as a personal protector for the punter. He didn’t realize the severity of the situation or consequences of not reporting the symptoms, and he remained in the game and never officially was diagnosed. Two years later in his first real job out of school, he started experiencing nauseating headaches and confusion when exercising, driving, and when entering crowded spaces like grocery stores. He saw a neuropsychologist in Chicago and then a ocular therapist who diagnosed him with post concussion syndrome. He still battles with the condition and wears prism eyeglasses to realign his eyes with one another for easier eye-teaming (and less work on the brain), which mostly eases his symptoms. Quentin currently lives in San Diego, CA and is generating interest to host retreats, expeditions, and localized groups for people recovering from PCS and possible CTE. He is here as a fellow fighter and has found a passion in bringing more light to the many ways of healing and rebuilding the brain. Williams has used Neuro- Optometry as his main tool for recovery. Instagram: @quentinwilliams3

Kelsie Igasan (Cheerleader and Gymnast)  Igasan is a former nationally ranked cheerleader and gymnast (2002-2008) who has sustained multiple undiagnosed concussions (close to 100). She developed a substance abuse problem, at the age of 16, and was treated for mental illness. While being treated for mental illness she continued hitting her head playing sports, unaware she has even sustaining concussions. This created a very dark life. At the age of 19, she became medication free and found long term sobriety. In February/March of 2017, she was in a minor car accident, slamming her face on her steering wheel, resulting in a concussion.  Soon after, her son kicked her in the head while she was changing his diaper and suffered another concussion followed by a seizure. During both of these incidents she had no idea she suffered a concussion. In the coming months she relapsed, lost years of sobriety, and was suffering deeply with concussion symptoms. In desperation to find relief from she symptoms, she jumped from her roof attempting suicide. She suffered a broken tibia and fibula as well as a subdural hematoma. In a matter of weeks she suffered three traumatic brain injuries. It was the Community Regional Medical Centers in Fresno, that uncovered her sports related TBIs and she found the help she needed. She is currently the ambassador for the Central Valley Concussion Consortium. Igasan has contributed her experience with Essential Oils, Speech Therapy, PT, Talk Therapy and Exertion. Instagram: @kelsiggy

Olivia (Soccer) "I’m 16 and I’ve suffered from 4 diagnosed concussions. I’m a huge soccer player, and I was starting to receive serious interests from d1 and d111 colleges. This summer I was on track to be getting my first offers. My 1st concussion, In 7th (may 2015) grade playing soccer, I collided with a girl going up for a header. 2nd, preseason of August playing soccer again, when a girl shot a ball at my face when I was three feet away from her. And 3rd and 4th may of 2018, colliding with a girl and heading the ball at the same time, and taking a header off of a goal punt the next day. After the concussion in 7th grade I was diagnosed with Visual convergence issues and also had vertigo and migraines, but I never connected it to my concussion. After I had my concussion in August (like starting in September) I got depressed and anxious. Again, didn’t connect it to my concussion. I also had bad headaches, and was chronically tired, I started to get better mentally until my 4th concussion which is when I decided to go to the concussion specialist because of my severe, debilitating headaches and being chronically tired. He said that everything that I was experiencing was a result of my concussions and headers. People who know me as a soccer player know that I’m famous for taking punts out of the air using me head, and scoring with my head. So although I have 4 diagnosed concussions, looking back, I know there were many more. Since seeing the concussion specialist, I’ve had to quit soccer. Most important advice: headers aren’t worth it, listen to your body, and don’t go back too early." Olivia has contributed reviews for vestibular therapy, vitamins, massage, exercise, and concussion specialists.  Instagram: @oliviaspcsjourney

Robson Lindberg (Tri-athelete) On February 16th, 2016, Lindberg sustained a brain injury while playing ice hockey. "For two months I was lost, clueless in the abyss. Then I decided I wanted to become the “World's Best TBI Patient” and win the World Championships in Triathlon. I've learned to write and crawl from scratch. Now, I'm learning to live again. I want to help others. That is why this webpage is crucial and I love Brain Waves for taking the initiative. It is my privilege to share my experiences. Nobody is born a warrior. You choose to become one. TBI patients around the world, inspire me every damn day! My recovery therapy story, yours is probably very different. Good, so it should be! I live in Helsinki, Finland. That’s in the most northern part of Europe, where the polar bears roam the streets freely. So, among the polar bears, you can also find most of my recommended specialists." Lindberg has contributed reviews for AcupunctureOsteopathPhysiotherapistChinese Medicine, Vision Therapy, Tricks of the Trade and many more. He has been an amazing asset for the Brain Waves community. Instagram: @robson.lindberg

Dani Rodli (Soccer) “I've been playing competitive soccer for 10 plus years now. I don't remember anything from my TBI, all the information I know is from my mom. So about 4 years ago I was in a tournament when I was tripped from behind and I fell face first. No one knows if I went unconscious first or what. But eventually I wasn't moving and help was rushed out to me. From there, I repeated the same 4 things every couple of minutes. Where are we? Are we in Helena? Does Nate ( my boyfriend) know? I don't want this to be the end of soccer. After the ER, I Eventually came to that day.” Dani has contributed reviews for physical therapy. Instagram: @danielarodli

Jess Fansler (cheerleading and gymnastics) “September 17, 2016 was the day that changed my life forever. I was in a cheerleading accident and had gotten a “mild concussion”. I was seen by my physical trainer and he told me that I should be fine and to go back to school. The next morning my mom got a very panicked phone call from my school nurse. The nurse was very evident that I needed to be see by a doctor immediately. I saw many doctors around my small town and was told the same thing every time. They told me I had a concussion and I just needed to rest. They made me feel dumb for being so concerned. I was isolated in a black room for a week trying to calm down my symptoms. Months went by and everything continued to worsen. I was taken out of cheerleading and gymnastics which I had been in for 15 years. Eventually I went to the Illinois Neurological institution. They were my saving grace. I found out that I had post concussion syndrome and that I wasn’t crazy. It’ll be 3 years this September since my accident. The fight to try and overcome this is most definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever faced.” Jess has found success with a neuro-optometrist and a concussion clinic. Instagram: @jess.fansler and @babesnbrains

 

The College Students

Torie has been suffering from PCS since June 2017. It’s the most pain and the hardest thing she has had to go through. Before her injury, she was a Biology major with a concentration in the health field going into her senior year of undergrad. Her hope is to finish her degree. Torie began documenting her recovery on social media in hopes it would help others. She has become a key contributor to Brain Waves and has reviewed Chiropractic NeurologyNeuro- OptometryUpper Cervical ChiropracticNeuro day ProgramSpeech therapyOccupational TherapyPhysical therapy and Hospital Concussion clinic. Instagram @torieshealthjourney

Audrey Lambidakis sustained her TBI in May of 2011 while in an improvisation class at her university. She was dropped three feet onto the back of her head. She got up, said she was fine but a hour later her speech was slurred, her visual field was spinning and she could not walk straight. Lambidakis graduated valedictorian from her high school despite having a first grade reading level in fourth grade due to her dyslexia. Her dream was to become a flight nurse and was at university getting her degree in nursing. After her TBI in 2011, Lambidakis has had to leave school and move home to focus on her recover. Between doctor appointments she began taking photos, specifically of surfing. Over the half decade she has been shooting, Lambidakis has focused her attention on Mavericks, one of the (if not the) most dangerous big wave on earth. She has been published by Surfing, Surfline, Magic Seaweed and Santa Cruz Waves Magazine. Instagram: @audrey_lambidakis

Kellie Pokrifka experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury at age 19. This immediately forced her to take medical leave from the University of Virginia. Her doctors continued to give her timelines of recovery, and yet the injury progressively worsened. Four years later, she still experiences a wide array of debilitating symptoms. Throughout her journey, she realized how little information on brain injury recovery is publically available. Doctors tend to preach the ‘rest and wait’ method when so many more effective therapies go unrecognized. Kellie has taken this very personal cause and ran with it. She works to compile the latest research on TBI therapies and make it available to those in need. No brain injury survivor should have to fight so hard just to hear about therapy options. Kellie has contributed information for nerofeedback, buffalo protocol, Cbd, essential oils, muse, tricks of the trade, supplements, z-bell test, diet, vestibular therapy, nerve stimulation devices, Website: concussiongameplan.com Instagram:@concusssiongameplan

 

The Medical Professionals

Molly Parker is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and has become an amazing resource for her knowledge on TBI treatments. Back in 2011, she was on a crowded street corner when a cab driver fell asleep and drove into the crowd.  While she felt lucky at the time to have "only" sustained a concussion, her life slowly began to unravel.  She got worse for over 4 years before finally starting to be able to find the right help.  She's now seen over 70 healthcare providers over the last 7 years. Parker is currently finishing her recovery and is hopeful for a second chance at life. Instagram: @mollyparkerpt

Sarah Verlinde was involved in a seemingly minor car accident in November 2017, and incurred a concussion, whiplash, and an injury to her neck ...this has been quite a personal journey of giving herself grace while not accepting things as “normal.” She's tried multiple therapies, and has been blessed to work with a great team of practitioners. She is grateful to be able to share all she's learned about healing her mind, body, and spirit and the importance of advocating for herself. Verlinde is a certified holistic nutritionist and has created a website sharing her nutritional knowledge: nourishyoursoulfood.com. She has contributed reviews on Acupuncture, Physical TherapyCranio-Sacral Therapy and Functional Neurology Instagram: @nourish_your_soulfood

Jessica Brooks is the founder and executive director of Jahzara’s Way Incorporated, which is a nonprofit that supports individuals effected by brain injury. She started Jahzara’s Way along with her family to bring more awareness to the Traumatic Brain Injury community. This came about because Brooks was in an auto accident that caused her to be diagnosed with a mild Trumatic brain injury called post concussion syndrome. Her recovery was one of the toughest experiences of her life. From being put on multiple medical protocols that she was not a candidate for, to experiencing brand new symptoms over the course of her recovery, things got extremely rough for her. Because Brooks' undergrad degree was in sports science with a concentration of sports medicine she was able to double check her doctors, and become a self advocate. She knew that it was only because of her schooling she was able to stand up for herself and that she should do something to help those who don’t know how to advocate for themselves. Brooks contributed reviews for sleep, tricks of the trade, diet, exertion and PT. Instagram: @jahzarasway  Website: www.jahzarasway.org Facebook: Jahzarasway

Artist

John Bukaty is a New Orleans professional artist who specializes in painting at live events. He suffered his first head injury at 6 months old. Bukaty played football as a young man and while playing in college at the Kansas University suffering more brain injuries. Over his life, he has suffer from trauma and is in sober recovery, "I believe trauma is at the root of many addictions and chronic problems we humans deal with."  Bukaty is 44 years old, "I feel frustrated everyday, but have hope that everything is always getting better as long as I remember life is a process. The brain is an amazingly resilient organ." Bukaty uses diet, supplements, art and music therapy, and has also visited a trauma center.  Website: https://www.johnbukaty.com Instagram: @johnbukaty

Professionals

Kirsten Short was born and raised in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration from British Columbia Institute of Technology and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia. From 2010 to early 2017, Kirsten worked in accounting firms where her client base consisted of small and medium-sized owner operated businesses, private companies, co-operatives, not-for-profit organizations and large public entities. Accordingly, she has a wide breadth of tax, advisory and assurance experience. Unfortunately, Kirsten has been on medical leave since she suffered a concussion in February of 2017. However, she manages to stay positive despite her post-concussion symptoms, chronic migraines and visual snow. When not working on her rehabilitation, Kirsten takes full advantage of her ‘good’ hours by advocating for brain injury survivors and their families; this is a new passion of hers. She also enjoys yoga, reading, writing and taking her Boston Terrier, Charli, on walks.  Short has contributed her reviews for tricks of the trade, meditation and yoga. Instagram: @concussionsandlawnchairs Blog: concussionsandlawnchairs.blogspot.com

Authors

Paul McMahon is an up and coming author as a result of his accident, where he fell 15 metres or 3.5 floors from a building. He has a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/paulmcmahonauthor that you can follow if you like the story or like his travel/brain injury blog. The message is that one should never give up and keep following your passions. The worst accident in the world can still direct you into bliss and prosperity. He has not had an official doctor or treatment but found these three ways, studying, writing and exertion, as the best elements in making him feel better. They offer a holistic way to improve his life following the accident. Instagram: @paul___mcmahon FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/paulmcmahonauthor