Upper Iowa University student receives expert concussion care with WMC team

May 18, 2022
Patient Stories

The drive home from Christmas break changed the course of Calista Brockman’s junior year at Upper Iowa University.  Just 10 short minutes away from Fayette, Calista lost control of her vehicle on slippery roads and slid in the ditch. Although her car was damaged, Calista did not have any noticeable injuries and was able to end her night without an emergency room visit.

However, within a few days, Calista noticed dizziness and balance issues.  A softball player for UIU, she spoke to her athletic trainer about it who referred her to Emily Connor, M.D., Mayo Clinic Health System orthopedic surgeon at Winneshiek Medical Center. Calista says, “Dr. Connor saw me in the UIU training room the next day, which was really convenient since my car was no longer drivable.  She is one of our team physicians and her specialty is orthopedic surgery.  Dr. Connor thought I had a concussion but wanted someone familiar with concussion care to confirm and follow my recovery.”

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that affects brain function and is usually caused by a blow to the head or violent shaking of the head and/or upper body.  Symptoms of concussion may include, but are not limited to:

  • Headache
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Change in mood or behavior
  • Sensitivity to light and sound

Scott Bohner, D.O., Mayo Clinic Health System family medicine physician at Winneshiek Medical Center has been treating patients with concussion symptoms for the past 13 years. In July of 2017, Dr. Bohner furthered his education and obtained his Credentialed ImPACT Consultant (CIC) certification to provide ongoing concussion care to athletes in the region. Dr. Bohner says, “Dr. Connor referred Calista to me and I met with her at Winneshiek Medical Center’s Upper Iowa Clinic on their campus. Through our visit, it was clear she had a concussion. Her best course of treatment was to rest to allow her brain to heal, and to work with physical therapy to address the dizziness and balance issues she was experiencing.”

Calista was out of softball for about one month as she recovered.  Her physical therapy sessions and follow up medical visits were held at UIU and in Decorah.  She says, “Winneshiek Medical Center manages all our health services on campus, including athletics, so it was coordinated to meet my schedule.  I was even given the cell phone numbers of my health care providers in case I needed anything during my recovery.”  Upon her completion of physical therapy, Calista was cleared to go back to practice, and within a few weeks, the team was off to Florida for a tournament.  Calista, who covers some third base, but mostly hits, was able to play with her team.  Calista says, “I’m thankful for the care I received at college.  The doctors, therapist and trainer became my team while I recovered, and it is great to be back on the softball field!”

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