Breaking Free of Traumatic Brain Injury: Elizabeth’s Story
Elizabeth, 32, has always been on the move and thankfully, now always will be.
From ranching 17 hours a day to playing college basketball to working full-time as a paramedic, Elizabeth has never let injuries stop her from remaining active. During her long days of feeding cattle and rolling hay bales, she experienced a tear to her peroneal tendon, leaving her in a cast and awaiting surgery. Even with a cast on her foot, Elizabeth didn’t miss a single day of work the entire winter.
A year after leaving the ranch in 2017, Elizabeth found her passion while attending paramedic school.
“I wanted to start right away… it was addicting. I loved the challenge,” said Elizabeth.
She went on to become a full-time paramedic with Alberta Health Services in Peace River, travelling up to four and a half hours between 20 different stations throughout the region. It was on her way to work when Elizabeth was in a car accident that changed her life.
On a snowy and early morning, Elizabeth set out for her shift, leaving from Peace River to the station in High Prairie.
Out of the darkness, a moose ran across the road. Elizabeth swerved into the ditch to avoid a head-on collision, but still struck the animal. The moose had come through the windshield before passing over the top of the vehicle, leaving Elizabeth exposed with no windshield left to the car. Despite the damage, Elizabeth felt fine after a quick self-evaluation and proceeded to call her station for assistance.
In the few days following the accident, Elizabeth was told she was extremely lucky to have survived.
“It’s unbelievable, because the same spot that I had my accident, someone was killed, someone was paralyzed, from hitting a moose,” she goes on to explain, “so, I just figured I walked away and I was the luckiest person going, and I was off to buy a lottery ticket.”
The Onset of Symptoms
Her car was completely totaled, and yet, after being examined at the local hospital, it appeared the only physical damage she endured was a bruised hoof print to her shoulder. However, within a week, it would become apparent there was greater damage.
Experiencing facial spasms, slurred speech, memory loss, auditory and visual disturbances and lack of balance, Elizabeth was in and out of the ER desperately trying to find answers. Despite her many visits to the hospital, medical professionals were unsure how to treat her symptoms, informing her she was suffering from a mild-to-moderate concussion, or traumatic brain injury.
At her wit's end, Elizabeth had tried a wide variety of treatment options over two years. Once the pandemic left her unable to continue treatment, she recognized any progress produced from her appointments was not permanent. Despite recovering about 60% of the way, the pause in treatment led to a regression to only 20% recovery. It was time to explore more effective options focused on treating her balance deficit, which seemed to be the contributing factor to her other symptoms.
Finding Effective Treatment
In the spring of 2020, Elizabeth went for her PoNS TreatmentTM assessment with Dr. Ryan Scott, Clinic Director at Advantage 4 Athletes. Together they established her baseline and an understanding of where her abilities were at the beginning of treatment.
“Within two weeks, we saw many changes, and then by the third week, I was at home and completing the program on my own with the exception of one day per week in-clinic.”
By week four, Elizabeth’s balance while standing had improved greatly and she could start to resume some of her usual activities again, without assistance.
To this day, Elizabeth is amazed at how far she has come since she completed PoNS TreatmentTM. She is back to riding her bike and walking her two dogs alone. As a result of her improved gait, she has noticed an improvement in her balance, endurance and posture and was also able to start a continuing education course.
Moving forward, Elizabeth’s goals include getting back to work as a paramedic and traveling back to Alberta. Thanks to PoNS TreatmentTM, she can immerse herself again in her physically demanding career, focusing on saving lives as opposed to rehabilitating the physical symptoms caused by her accident.
“Now, nothing is stopping [me], I can do whatever I want.”
For more inspiring stories like Elizabeth’s, check out our TBI Testimonials page. If you are interested in receiving more information on PoNS TreatmentTM, click here to book a free phone consultation with an authorized clinic near you.
Disclaimer: The PoNSTM device is intended for use as a short term treatment (14 weeks) of balance deficit due to mild and moderate symptoms from TBI and is to be used in conjunction with physical therapy. Individual patient results and experiences may vary.