This is Katie, here is her Story.

My name is Katie Weatherston. I won a Gold Medal in the 2006 Olympics in Turin Italy with the women’s hockey team. Shortly after the Olympics, I went to a Team Canada training camp where I got cross checked from behind and went head first into the boards. I shook the hit off and kept playing, but I had the Team Canada doctor access me in between periods to be safe. I passed the few tests and was put back into the game. I then collided with a player at centre ice for blow #2 to the head and kept playing. The third blow to my head happened at a face off. My head grazed the other centre’s head and it felt like I hit a brick wall.

Two days later, I felt the full effects of the concussion and ended up in the ER with neck pain and nausea. I missed the next 3 months of hockey. I woke up daily feeling like I had a weight in my brain. When I walked up stairs I would get a head rush and when I tried to ease back into working out I would get head pressure and my ears would pop. I missed 1 month of university as I could not focus and read and study. Unfortunately, my head would never be the same. In December of 2008, I had a minor fall on the ice. I caught an edge and fell to my side. My head didn’t even hit the ice, but I felt my brain move side to side inside my head. I knew I had another concussion. This was the last time I played hockey as I wouldn’t recover from this concussion.

My brain feels like it is a soft egg and I am susceptible to concussions. For 2 years, I could not wear thin sandals as on heel strike my brain would rattle. I didn’t wear hats as this hurt my head. Hair ties too tight would agitate me. I avoid walking on concrete sidewalks as concrete is hard and it agitates my brain. I walk on asphalt and grass as much as possible. Recently, I fell to my knee and I felt my brain move again ‘splish splash’. It’s so frustrating to have to be cautious and conscientious of everything you do and always be thinking about your head. When I am in a boat, I have to stand up to absorb the waves or my brain rattles.

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Every day, for the last 8 years, I have had headaches, jaw, neck and head tension and pain. This has led me to have many dark days. I have battled depression, anxiety and chronic pain. I have taken courses on coping with a disability. I feel trapped in an athletic and young body. Some days I feel hopeless and sad. I miss being an athlete and miss being able to lift things and do simple house chores and yard work like shoveling snow. I also had to give up my career as an elementary school teacher and I cannot work full time. This is hard to accept at the young age of 25 or now even at 34.

I am slowly learning how to pace myself better. I walk, swim and bike to get a bit of exercise, but cannot push myself – I feel like I work out like an 85 year old which frustrates me. I find that chiro, acupuncture, osteopath and massage help manage my pain and stabilize my mood. It’s been 8 years, but I am still learning how to deal with the pain and injury and trying to find new treatment options to help me improve my health. Doctors do not have any answers. No one is able to tell you what exactly is wrong with you as each concussion is different and what treatments will work best for you. It is also hard to live with an invisible disability because people look at you and see a healthy and fit young person, but your brain is telling you otherwise.

It’s great to see that there is more awareness to the dangers of concussions. If I could do it all over, I wish the doctors or myself would have pulled me out of that game in 2006. I hope that sharing my story will help others to not make the same mistakes I made and take concussions more seriously. Remove yourself from the game, wait 24 hours to return to play, be cautious.

Katie Weatherston

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Katie’s story not only shares her passion and devotion to sports and athletics but also highlights her strength and perseverance. Katie’s experiences with head trauma offers the unique perspective of concussion implications years after the initial injury.

7 thoughts on “This is Katie, here is her Story.

  1. I teared up when I read this.
    Although my concussion occurred during an MVA and not while playing hockey, I can relate to all of her symptoms, frustrations, fears, and exhausting, snail’s pace healing process.
    Thank you so much Katie for writing and posting your experience.
    Creating awareness through education advocacy. ❤️🙏🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    • So brave Katie. Thank you for sharing your story.
      I hope that those among us who intentionally (or not ) inflict life long suffering on another just to advance standing in a “game” hear and learn from your consequence.
      Why is winning a 60 minute sport event worth more than the well being and health of another person?
      Have we not yet gone beyond Gladiator mentality and if not, when?
      Hugs to you Katie. Gail

      Like

  2. Katie: Was so sorry to hear of your problems with concussions and hockey. I remember you well when you played with my Grandaughter Larissa and wish you well and hopefully in time things will clear up and you can feel normal again. Larissa is also dealing with a problem with her son Mykhailo who is 8 years old and suffers with lymes disease and all it’s difficulties. She travelled to New York with him this summer to meet with a specialist and is hoping for some results this fall. I wish you well and we are hoping for the best for Mykhailo. Shirley Sheehan

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Katie, I’m so so sorry for what you have and continue to go through. My thoughts and prayers for your pain – both physical and emotional to heal. I remember how thoughtful and kind you were to all the people who came to welcome you home at the airport after they Olympics. I know it’s easy to say, but please be strong.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sure you have explored all possibilities, but I’ve recently been doing something called resistance flexibility (The Genius of Flexibility), developed by Bob Cooley. He too suffered from a severe concussion many years ago, so he developed a method of stretching that helped to ease his pain, mood changes and break down scar tissues. I also know that some of my Pilates friends have had great successes with clients who have suffered from concussions. I know that it is a long, hard road to recovery for those who suffer from concussions, thank you for bringing awareness and talking about your experiences (especially from such an accomplished athlete!).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Katie, I am so sorry that you have suffered so long with such a debilitating brain injury. You are very brave to tell your story in hopes of reaching out to others who might receive trama to their head. I pray that your symptoms will slowly decrease & that you may return to the active life that you once enjoyed.
    Your J.K. Teacher. Bobbi Law

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  6. Katie,

    To share your harrowing story is very brave and commendable.

    It was such a pleasure to have you as teammate in soccer long ago and amazing to watch you go on to do great things. Hopefully your symptoms subside. In the meantime, know there are many, including myself, who are still rooting for you.

    Best,

    Luke Hill

    Like

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