Makayla Tucker was in eighth grade the first time she got a concussion.
An avid basketball player, Makayla would have four more concussions by
the time she was a junior in high school. While she sought treatment for
each one, even going as far as Denver for doctor’s appointments,
it was the last concussion that really set her back.
“I was getting really dizzy every time I stood up,” Makayla
said. “I would always feel nauseated.”
A certified neurologic specialist,
Ryan Schrock DPT, NCS, CSCS, works with post-concussion patients at CCH’s
Rehabilitation Services department. In addition, he works with individuals who may experience
vertigo, struggle with balance or have had a
traumatic brain injury.
“He helped me with little things like turning my head,” Makayla
said. “We worked on my balance in general.”
It was two months of intense therapy before Makayla started feeling some
relief, and she continued treatment for about eight months. She stopped
going a few months ago, but struggles with recurring headaches related
to the concussions brought her back to try to find an answer.
“Without treatment I have no idea where I’d be right now,”
Makayla said. “I’m not 100 percent, but definitely a lot better
than when I started.”
Often times people with concussions struggle with headaches, neck pain,
memory loss, dizziness and emotional regulation. Ryan works with a number
of athletes in Gillette and often he works with post-concussion patients
for up to two years, creating individualized therapy programs that address
each patient’s unique needs.
“My job is really rooted in function,” Ryan said. “With
neurologic injury, every exercise is going to be different.”
For concussion and
traumatic brain injury patients a lot of the symptoms they may be experiencing depend on which
area or areas of the brain that were damaged. Post-concussion therapies
are relatively new treatment areas and more research and studies are being
conducted on the impacts of concussions on the brain.
“It’s an area of neurology we’re just starting to learn
about,” Ryan said. “We’re starting to wrap our head
around what it is and how to best treat it.”
For patients like Makayla, the science is in the physical relief she’s
feeling from her symptoms since starting therapy. In addition to Ryan
helping to relieve her symptoms, Makayla has enjoyed working with him
“He’s really upbeat,” Makayla said. “He loves helping
everybody. He’s a really good guy in general.”
Not only has Ryan helped move Makayla’s recovery process along, but
he’s also helped the now high school senior realize which direction
she wants to go after graduation. Inspired by working with Ryan, Makayla
has decided that occupational or physical therapy might be her calling as well.
“I’ve always really wanted to be in the medical field,”
Makayla said. “Working with Ryan, he’s helped me realize that
more. I’m planning on going to
Casper College and majoring in occupational therapy.”
Campbell County Health
Rehabilitation Services in Gillette, Wyoming provides complete physical and occupational rehabilitation
care to people with musculoskeletal problems caused by disease or injury.
Rehab Services strives to help you reach your rehabilitation goals and
function at your optimal level, whether you are at home or at work. Our
specially trained staff offers baseline concussion testing for all contact
sports, comprehensive neurologic exams to diagnose possible concussion
and physical therapy to deal with the effects of concussion such as balance
and gait training, neuromuscular rehabilitation, eye tracking training
and re-education of movement. Learn more by calling 307.688.8000 or visiting
Article written by Kim Phagan-Hansel, Wyoming freelance writer