LOCAL COLLEGE STUDENT WITH LIFE-CHANGING CONCUSSIONS Morgan Semmelhack was recruited out of York High School with a volleyball scholarship to Kent State. Her future looked bright until she suffered a series of three concussions during her junior year, with the last one delivering a powerful blow to her left eye in the fall of 2014.
After getting differing medical opinions, Morgan made the heartbreaking decision to stop playing volleyball. “Concussions are life-changing,” she says. “I just couldn’t imagine myself out on the court again.” As a graphic design major, she was trying to complete hours of detailed computer work amidst crippling light sensitivity, headaches and eyestrain—vision problems that she had experienced with prior concussions, but had now become unbearable. “Simple things like going to the grocery store were overwhelming because of all the visual stimuli. I just didn’t feel like myself,” she says.
Over the summer, Morgan found Dr. Monika Spokas, a developmental optometrist at Clarendon Vision Development Center, and began a course of vision therapy to improve eye tracking and get her eyes to work as a team. Morgan did her exercises at home too. “I could feel my eyes working together. Symptoms got better. I was also in a better mood because I wasn’t always in pain. Vision therapy changed my life,” she says.
“Sixty percent of the brain’s pathways relate to vision,” Spokas says. “By engaging the brain in specially designed activities, vision therapy can actually facilitate recovery of concussion symptoms. Even people with lingering symptoms from old concussions can benefit from vision therapy.”
Today, Morgan is thriving in school, stronger than ever and looking forward to graduation this August. She uses her story to explain why it’s important to seek concussion treatment early. -Story and Photo Submitted