Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

I have had over five concussions, I’m at a point where I can’t fully remember all of them but I think it is technically at eight.

I am 23 years old, and I have had eight traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

It is well known that once you get your first concussion, subsequent concussions are easier to get and the cycle continues on from there.

Smacking your head on a fridge door? Might not be hard enough to give you your first but it may be hard enough to give you your fourth or fifth.

After the first few, I didn’t really notice the long term effects. The week or weeks that I had the concussion were awful, but I didn’t realize that they were causing me severe long term effects.

I first noticed a difference when I started coaching cheer. I cheered all throughout middle school and high school and I was the one who memorized everything. Every routine, every cheer. I saw something once and it was ingrained in my brain.

When I started coaching, I could do a routine with my girls over and over and still not remember it right after, let alone at the next practice.

I also started to realize how hard it was for me to focus on literally anything. I have terrible retention when reading or watching anything and I have a terrible memory.

Working on my laptop too long? Headache and sickness. Trying to tumble, seeing spots afterwards.

There were a few things I probably should’ve stopped doing a few concussions ago, but my most recent one changed everything for me.

The concussion itself lasted for five to six weeks; none of my other ones lasted nearly as long. I was out of work, out of class, out of my extracurriculars, out of cheer for a majority of that time. I had severe effects and some that I can’t even remember. I will talk with people and they will mention something we did or something we talked about during that period and I’ll have no idea what they’re talking about.

I had to drop out of some of my classes and some of my activities altogether because I was enrolled in judo and taekwondo, which are both forms of martial arts. Going back to what I said earlier, these aren’t what caused my last concussion but I probably shouldn’t have been in them to begin with. I ended up loving both sports but I’m not going to be able to ever go back into them at this point.

I love coaching cheer, but I also miss cheering. There isn’t any chance, even if my body was in good shape and I could get my tumbling back, that I would be able to do it. It is simply too dangerous when any minor hit to the head completely stops my entire day as I wait, and hope, that it isn’t another concussion.

I’m happy that I’m at a place where I’ll be seeing a neurologist and starting physical therapy. I’m not sure how much help that is going to be for the already done damage, but I’m willing to try anything to lessen the long term symptoms and effects.

Kaytlyn is a Senior at MSU majoring in Marketing and minoring in Creative Writing. She has been a published journalist and writer for over six years. Kaytlyn is currently the Chapter President and Campus Correspondent for HCMSU as well as being involved in the Campus Trendsetters program, College Fashionista program, and the HCM Internship Credit program. Outside of Her Campus, Kaytlyn has two cats, Leo and Zelda, as well as a ferret named Willow. She is also the President, Marketing Director, and a co-founder of the Creative Writing Club at MSU. She is also a cheer coach.