97 : The Power of Saying "No" During PCS Recovery w/ Brittni Souder

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A native of Frederick, Maryland and a former collegiate soccer player at Hood College, Brittni was forced to finally retire from her playing days in 2014 after what she estimates now to have been her 9th concussion.  After spending the majority of her college career battling injuries, doctors, and her family to get back onto the field she now fights to raise awareness among “invincible” athletes and uneducated family members: two things she herself has been in the past.

Brittni and her family now realize she likely suffered three concussions before even reaching college when her struggles with them really began. After suffering from nagging ankle injuries her freshman and sophomore years she sustained 3 concussions during her junior season: approximately a two-month span.  Although she continued to fight to play for the next two seasons she would never really be the same after that fall of 2012.

After two surgeries on her head and taking a semester off, she returned to school for her final semester and season in the fall of 2014.  She suffered two minor hits that she played through, determined to finish out her final season.  On October 25th, 2014 in the final seconds of a game her hopes came to a grinding halt.  The buzzer sounded and her teammates surrounded her, lifting her off turf and then held her up as they celebrated their big win.  She was helped off the field for the last time.

She managed to finish college from home with the help of her professors and officially graduated in May of 2015.  Since then she has fought to manage her Post-concussion symptoms and live as normal of a life as possible.  She coaches college soccer and hopes her story will serve as an example of what can happen.

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Brittni and her family now realize she likely suffered three concussions before even reaching college when her struggles with them really began. After suffering from nagging ankle injuries her freshman and sophomore years she sustained 3 concussions during her junior season: approximately a two-month span.  Although she continued to fight to play for the next two seasons she would never really be the same after that fall of 2012.

After two surgeries on her head and taking a semester off, she returned to school for her final semester and season in the fall of 2014.  She suffered two minor hits that she played through, determined to finish out her final season.  On October 25th, 2014 in the final seconds of a game her hopes came to a grinding halt.  The buzzer sounded and her teammates surrounded her, lifting her off turf and then held her up as they celebrated their big win.  She was helped off the field for the last time.

She managed to finish college from home with the help of her professors and officially graduated in May of 2015.  Since then she has fought to manage her Post-concussion symptoms and live as normal of a life as possible.  She coaches college soccer and hopes her story will serve as an example of what can happen.

The bio presented above was taken from our episode 18 guest, Jay Fraga's blog called the Knockout Project. For anyone reading this or listening to this episode, I encourage you to check out Jay's website where Brittni's story is showcased along with the stories of many other athletes who have dealt with and are dealing with post concussion syndrome (PCS).  During my interview with Brittni, she talked about the importance of finding the PCS community during her recovery. I will save you the time searching because the community is right here ( the Knockout Project ). Jay has done as tremendous job creating this safe-place and resource for those suffering with PCS.

"Suffering with PCS makes you feel like you are the weakest person in the world."

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Below are other topics of discussion from our interview:

  • The influence that growing up as a "farm kid" had on her views of sucking it up and powering through injuries.
  • How Brittni managed to stay concussion free for her first couple seasons of college soccer.
  • The sequence of events and subsequent recoveries from all debilitating concussions suffered throughout her career. 
  • Internal dialog and the imagined perception of others in not wanting to be known as the "weak girl."
  • The various treatments Brittni tried to alleviate her symptoms, which included:
  • The importance of getting a second opinion.
  • Developing hobbies outside of your sport.
  • Dealing with the isolation throughout recovery.
  • Trigeminal neuralgia, "The suicide disease."
  • How Brittni now approaches her coaching style to prevent athletes from playing through injuries like she did.
  • The importance of staying physically active during your recovery from PCS.

"I’ve really had to Commit to not committing to things."

  • The power of saying No in managing your PCS symptoms.
  • Navigating relationships while suffering from PCS.
  • Another PCS community specifically for female athletes call Pink Concussions
  • The inspiration Brittni has gained from the work of Brené Brown, particularly her book called Rising Strong.

WHERE CAN YOU LEARN MORE ABOUT PINK CONCUSSIONS?

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | YOUTUBE

WHERE CAN YOU FOLLOW BRITTNI?

INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | LINKEDIN

Download Episode 97 : iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud