A Concussion Survivor

Drew is the son of Tracey Mayer – one of our Parent Advocates – and like John Gonoude a person that has overcome the stigma of concussion.  Not only is it a real brain injury, not treating it correctly can have life long effects for more people than we care to admit.  As Drew finds time he will send us updates, we hope this avenue will help him as well.

When my mom asked me to write for the blog, I knew instantly that I was interested but the first few times I sat down to write about it, things became tougher for me than I had thought.  Although I have had so much support and worked on moving forward from my freshman incident, this whole situation continues to be a sensitive topic for me to talk about.

As my senior year progresses, everything has been moving more smoothly than ever.  Starting off the year I still continued to set my standards high; to keep improving in my classes.  Just in case I needed a little GPA boost, I had taken a couple AP classes for the first time in my 4 years of high school – unlike many of my friends who decided to have a blow off schedule.  This was more of something that would just force me to keep my work up to the quality that it should be.  Outside of the whole academics aspect of my senior year, I couldn’t wait to see all my good friends, that I once shared the field with, finally step out onto the gridiron for their senior year of football.

Many of the games throughout the season continued to be extremely tough for me.  I always caught myself standing in the cheering section thinking “That should be me out on that field.” As much improvement as I have made, everything still has a great effect on me and brings back the emotions. Luckily, I have many of my friends that know about what I’ve gone through and are right there to make me feel better.  Moving past those emotions; it’s all back to having fun and making the best of my senior year of high school.

Soon after the year began I had sent my first application to Illinois State University, the number 1 school I’ve been thinking about attending – sure enough two weeks later I’m in!  Personal support should be good; as my brother and many of my good friends are at ISU.  This outcome – being accepted to ISU – is very enjoyable to me, especially with the many struggles throughout high school.

As for my cognitive skills and everything regarding my concussion; improvements have been made each and every year and with the relief of being accepted, nothing has made me happier.  However with all the improvements I still don’t feel like the same kid as I was 3 years ago coming into my freshman year of high school.  Parts of me are still not fully there but I am extremely thankful that I got this much back after the long wait.  The next step for me is finishing off this last year of high school while also preparing for college.

The last couple weeks, my mom and I have been looking into the special accommodations that ISU offers to students.   The two main things we have discussed so far are: to ask for extra time on exams and then potentially getting a note taker.  Even though in high school the one thing that I always told my mom was that I didn’t want to be doing anything different then all the other students.  The one thing that I have always stuck to is that I want to succeed and earn my grades the same way everyone else does, no matter my problems.  It may be once again another long fight to get these accommodations for college just like it was for high school, including for the ACT.  My mother and I are both willing to do whatever it takes (as you have read on the blog) to get what is right and appropriate for me. We are in the process of helping my doctor put together a special letter to send to ISU Disabilities to potentially qualify for these accommodations.

Overall, I just am excited to move onto the next step of college and continue living my life to the fullest.

5 thoughts on “A Concussion Survivor

  1. Linda November 16, 2011 / 17:21

    Drew, you are so strong and brave. You truly had a lot to overcome and still do but I admire that you OWN IT and are working through it. I wish you much success at ISU.

    • Tracey Mayer November 20, 2011 / 17:42

      Thank you, Mrs. Gassman – that means a lot.

  2. brokenbrilliant November 18, 2011 / 19:22

    Congratulations on your accomplishments. You certainly have a lot to be proud of. And kudos to your friends, as well, for sticking with you. That is so important. Best of luck in school — as someone I know recently said, their injury has given them a compassion and understanding for others that not all people have. They aren’t glad their head cracked the windshield of their car, and they aren’t happy about the pain over the years, but they are grateful for the deepened perspective it gives them in life. Having that broader view will certainly benefit you in the long run.

    To your success!

    Be well

    • Tracey Mayer November 20, 2011 / 17:47

      Thank you for your encouragement. You are right – I would not wish what I went through on anyone, but it has given me a much better understanding of what people go through.

  3. Maria Holme February 1, 2012 / 08:01

    Where to begin??? Jumped online this morning to find some answers. My 14 year old son suffered a concussion May 2011. Took the needed rest and resumed partial acedemics the last few weeks of school in June.

    Summer all seemed fine (no real taxing acedemic requirements) come freshmen year and he is struggling. Not testing at his academic pre concussion level.regardless of the studying and preparing. Considering it could be the work load is certainly higher in an honors high school level, but wondering if the concussion is playing a role.
    I read with interest Drew’s blog post and wondered…where do we go from here? Meet with teachers? Follow up with doctor? How do we determine if this is in fact from the concussion or not and what do we do now to ease the situation of frustration we are experiencing?
    ANY insight you can provide would be so greatly appreciated as we begin this quest to ease things for Seth. Thank you so much!

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