Concussion Treatment Helps Cheerleader Get Back in the Game


No one suspected sophomore Kylie Morris had a concussion. She wasn’t knocked unconscious after receiving an accidental kick to the forehead while practicing a tumbling pass for a new cheerleading routine. And although she was dazed and had a headache, the kick wasn’t particularly painful. “I just figured that I had a big headache,” says Kylie. “I knew I got kicked, but I didn’t feel it.”

The headache prompted Kylie to call her mom to pick her up from school. She laid down for a short nap, which stretched into five hours of sleep. Kylie’s mother Natalie worried the kick may have been more harmful than they realized. She took Kylie to see a doctor that evening, who then referred Kylie to a local emergency room for evaluation. The doctor diagnosed Kylie’s concussion, prescribed rest, and arranged for her to see Michael Henrie, DO, a sports medicine physician with University of Utah Health for follow-up treatment.

In addition to physical rest, Henrie placed Kylie on cognitive rest. “Most people don’t think about resting the brain, which not only involves physical rest but also mental or cognitive rest. We generally pull concussion patients out of activities that require stimulation of the brain. That means no internet, no texting, no video games, and no TV,” says Henrie. And in Kylie’s case, it also meant no schoolwork or homework until her brain began to recover.

As a bright, dedicated student, Kylie found it difficult and frustrating to wait for her brain to heal, particularly after returning to school. However Henrie helped her understand she needed to give her brain time to heal before getting back to her regular routine. “It’s hard because you’re watching everyone in class, and you feel fine, however your body’s not. In your head you feel like, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine, I can do that’—but your body’s not capable of doing it,” she says.

Natalie was thankful that her daughter received excellent quality health care from University of Utah Health in the south end of the valley. “It was phenomenal,” raves Natalie. “Dr. Henrie treated us right there at the school. It was very convenient . . . that’s what I was very grateful for.”

Henrie says, “We have physicians and athletic trainers at Herriman and Jordan High Schools. We have a sports medicine clinic here. We see concussions as part of that. We’re certainly in a position to evaluate and treat anyone who’s in this part of the valley.”

After three weeks of treatment and evaluation from Henrie, Kylie made a complete recovery. She got caught up with her schoolwork and is cheering again. “She had to make up three weeks of work her sophomore year. She did it and earned all A’s and B’s. In cheer, she’s the top flyer and tumbler,” Natalie says proudly.

Find a University of Utah Health community clinic in your area.

If you or a loved one has experienced a head injury, learn what symptoms might indicate a concussion, and when you should call a doctor.

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