New concussion treatments mean injured Wake Forest teen could hit the court sooner

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WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) — Children are back in school and that means team sports are back in full swing, which also means students are at risk.

Studies show that one in five high school athletes will suffer from a concussion throughout a season of sports.

Dr. Kristin Somerville knows exactly how it feels to have to sit on the sidelines after a head injury.

“I was actually always injured myself so I wanted to be the person that helped get people back out on the field by reducing the time between injury and recovery,” said Somerville, a physical therapist with Breakthrough Physical Therapy.

“I suffered from one concussion when I was playing lacrosse and it does have a big impact on how you feel and knowing that you have to sit out for three, four weeks just waiting to get back in, it’s really hard.”

Somerville specializes in helping athletes suffering from concussions.

“It used to be that it was almost a sign of weakness if you said that you had a concussion when you were hit on the field and now it’s something that we’ve had a lot more awareness about and essentially it’s a traumatic brain injury so it’s not something to take lightly,” said Somerville.

Heritage High School sophomore Kaleb Hedgebeth has been playing basketball since he was 3-years-old.

“It just gets me away from all my problems and I can go to it about anything really,” said Hedgebeth.

He suffered a concussion on Monday.

“I remember we were doing drills and I was on the last drill and I did a move to go to the basket and I tried to dunk and I made the dunk but then I fell onto the back of my head,” explained Hedgebeth. “I just laid there for a few minutes and I was just holding my head. I just started seeing stars.”

Somerville says back when she played high school sports, the typical treatment for concussion was simply to rest.

“The old way of concussions used to be you put sunglasses on and you sat in a dark room and almost waited for symptoms to disappear and now it’s something with more research we’ve learned that you can take an active role so you don’t just have to isolate yourself,” Somerville said.

Somerville says it’s all about retraining the brain, which is what she’s working on with Hedgebeth.

“I get sad because I wanna go play basketball with my friends but I just have to sit out.”

But Somerville says with her help, Hedgebeth should be back on the court in no time.

“To get people back to doing what they love and to not have to suffer as long as I did during mine,” she said.

Hedgebeth says he can’t wait to get back out on the court and his goal is to play for the NBA.

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