Alex Danson-Bennett, Team GB Hockey Captain, injured herself on holiday and has been unable to play hockey since. Recently she has talked publicly about the impact of her mild traumatic brain injury on her life and career. 'After the World Cup we had a bit of holiday time, so my boyfriend, Alex, and I booked a trip to Kenya. One evening we were out for dinner and there was a brick wall behind where I was sitting, about head height. I was leaning back with the back of my neck on the wall. Alex made a joke and, without thinking, I flung my head back and it hit the wall.
Although I knew something wasn't right straight after the freak accident, I just tried to carry on and trained as if nothing had happened.
Despite knowing she wasn't completely well after cracking her head, Alex said she continued with the holiday and even went running. GB Hockey sent her to a concussion specialist in Birmingham for tests and she could hardly open her eyes.
I struggled to tolerate light, sound or people talking to me since hitting my head, I lived my life at a tenth of what I used to. It was hard, but I still believed I'd make a full recovery and hoped to go back to playing for my country.'
Despite being in pain Alex was determined to keep on pushing herself in training and continued to attend team events.
Six weeks after returning home she persuaded the team doctor she was fit enough for a team-bonding away day pottery painting. Alex told BBC Sport: 'I went for an hour and all I remember was talking to my team-mate next to me and I lost the ability to speak. I just couldn't say any words. Obviously I was frightened but I didn't want to cause a scene so I went back to painting my egg cup. I went home as soon as that session was done.'
'After getting home I felt violently sick and passed out. Knowing this was serious, I went to the hospital and suffered a seizure before being rushed for a CT scan. Nothing showed up on this scan or on an MRI or MRA scan. There's a theory that because I waited so long to have the scan, there may have been a bleed that was reabsorbed, which is why it didn't show up.'
'One of the hardest parts in all of this, aside from the physical trauma, has been losing my identity. Going from leading my country, aspiring to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics to just trying to get through a day. Head injuries are serious, debilitating and lonely. I hit my head one day and my whole life was pulled away from me'.
Alex engaged in a full and active rehabilitation programme at Hobbs South East for specialist vestibular rehabilitation.where a multi disciplinary approach including physiotherapy, neuropsychology and a graded exercise programme tailored to functional retraining was targeted to Alex's skill set. Importantly, a big part of the Hobbs Vestibular and Balance Service is education and understanding of the symptoms, recognising the triggers early and on how to manage them so that Alex can effectively work towards returning to her usual activities as and when appropriate.
She was guest speaker at a large conference hosted by Hobbs Rehabilitation where leading academics and clinicians explored and developed robust treatment pathways for better outcomes. Her testimony and experience helped to shape the current perspectives and future directions in the treatment of mild traumatic brain injury.
Pat and Geoff tell share their insights on how LSVT (Lee Silverman Voice Therapy) has impacted much more than voice control. Click on either image to read their story:
Izzy, told by her mum, Kate
My daughter suffered neurological damage out of the blue aged 6, when an unknown virus caused inflammation in her cerebellum. She was discharged from hospital in a weak and wobbly state suffering severe ataxia and was offered no physio support from the NHS. Fortunately I found Hobbs Neurological Rehabilitation through a friend. My daughter was seen by Debbie Jay at Hobbs on a regular basis for many months. The support and encouragement Debbie gave in each session was extremely valuable and we always left with exercises to practice and a sense of progression. Debbie was reassuring, calm and patient and full of useful suggestions and information; her understanding of what was happening neurologically was really reassuring for me. I cannot recommend Hobbs highly enough. Here is Izzy (in the blue) with her sister Emily enjoying taking a cheeky little Alpaca for a walk, a fun way to celebrate such wonderful progress; rehab works!
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2017. A friend recommended me to Hobbs Rehabilitation who were running a PD Warrior course comprising a ten-week course of daily physical exercises. I completed the course and felt an improvement in my physical condition. I have continued the exercises at home. Regrettably not on a daily basis, as other things get in the way.
I have continued the exercises at home. Regrettably not on a daily basis, as other things get in the way.
My family and golfing friends have noticed an improvement in my physical condition since doing the PD Warrior course and attending the weekly exercise class run by Hobbs Rehabilitation in South Wonston.
I would like to say a big thank you to all the staff at Hobbs for their help and encouragement! I have six monthly, follow up meetings with Hobbs Rehabilitation and the review tests have shown no deterioration in my condition.
I see a Neurologist every 12 months and the Parkinson’s nurse every 6 months. They are pleased with my progress and I am still on minimal medication.
No one knows what the future holds but I am convinced the PD Warrior exercises have had a positive effect in slowing the progression of the disease.
'After my injury at 18 I believed my life was over. I'd never be independent, never fulfil my dreams and I'd be housebound for the rest of my life. In January I became paralysed from the neck down with conflicting diagnoses of a spinal stroke or idiopathic transverse myelitis. Unlike others that suffer these injuries i was an incomplete spinal cord injury which meant that there was light at the end of the tunnel that after a long road of rehab I would one day become independent again!
After my acute hospital stage I underwent a long rehab process, something which I'm still undergoing, it's very long and tiring but every week I see improvements which spurs me on to become better than the week before. If I have a few days off in between sessions I can really feel that my body gets stiffer and it becomes a lot harder to walk, therefore my rehab really happens everyday whether it's at Hobbs Rehab or at home I am always stretching and walking in order to better myself.
Rehab is so important to me as it has taught me how to become independent again, it encourages me to get better and is a big support in helping me to cope with the big changes in my life!
Several months ago I sought assistance from Hobbsin connection with my limited mobility. This was a combination of an episode of transverse myelitis (MS) and a 17 level spinal fusion (accelerated spinal degeneration).
I am pleased to inform you all that after a trial period with the Mollii Suit, I was so impressed with the results that I have now purchased one. The spastic tone in my lower limbs and the spinal pain are much improved for up to 48-hrs after wearing the suit. Although the outlay was not insignificant, the improvement in my quality of movement, function, and back-pain has made it worthwhile for me.
It may be worthwhile pointing out to any other potential customers that the initial 1-hr assessment was free and provides the patient with a very clear indication as to whether the Molli suit will be beneficial. In my case after the successful initial assessment, I hired the suit for a month prior to making the decision to buy outright.
Obviously I am very happy to share my experiences with all relevant therapists and their patients. Thanks to all of you for your help.
Robbie had always had a limp, being mildly hemiplegic, but the pain in his right ankle had reached a point where it was difficult to even walk short distances. Hobbs physiotherapists realised he had worn away a lot of the cartilage in his ankle from years of uneven walking. There was a high chance that he would need surgery.
However we embarked on weekly physio sessions and Robbie saw one of our excellent orthotists. He was able to position Robbie's right ankle so he could walk on cartilage again. With intensive input from physio, and doing what he was told at home in terms of exercises, he improved and the pain in his ankle became less noticeable. "The physios at Hobbs were always friendly and encouraging. I wouldn’t need an operation after all." Robbie's appointments are now less frequent and he regularly goes to the gym. He is keen to continue coming for physio at Hobbs where he can get advice from the experts on maintaining his mobility. He also feels obliged to keep exercising between physio sessions so that he doesn't disappoint his physio!
According to Robbie, there has been unexpected benefits to physio. He has improved his fitness, and by extension his emotional wellbeing. Advice on posture means that he had to start standing taller. It sounds odd, but he genuinely believes people now take him more seriously at work. Most importantly Hobbs' input has allowed him to keep up with his three children.
"I enjoy playing on the beach with them and going on walks. When my 5 year old gets tired I can carry her on my shoulders and keep going. I feel very lucky and just wish everyone who could benefit had access to the super team at Hobbs Rehab."
I had my first stroke in February 2012 and had a 2nd major stroke at home. I was taken to Frimley Park hospital by ambulance, I don't really remember any thing until 2 months later I slowly awoke. I was paralysed from the neck down,
Following a three month stay in intensive care and numerous bouts of pneumonia I was transferred to Farnham hospital and carried on with my rehabilitation, with the help and support of my family the doctors & nurses I started to regain the use of my left side of my body, and started the long road to get some movement in my right side.
I first met Michelle at Hobbs South East on Christmas Eve 2012. I could only stand with a handling belt, and I had to be taken in my wheelchair into Hobbs, we discussed what my wants/expectations were and where I wanted to end up.After all the paperwork was done Michelle started her assessment of me and she made me feel comfortable and not so conscious of my disabilities. She got me to take a few very nervous steps with my walking stick, and these were my first independent steps.
The future wasn't as frightening as I thought and it gave me confidence to face it. It has not been an easy road and there have been dark times for me as I made progress. am starting to walk with a walking pole and have found that I need to have goals to aim for no matter how small. My targets for this year include driving for the first time in over 6 years, generally improving and getting more independence.Michelle and the rest of the team at Hobbs have been very supportive during my time here. I am on a path and don't know where or when it will end. I have nothing but respect for Hobbs and their ability. Hobbs say you have to put a lot of time & effort into your recovery but Michelle/Hobbs are a part of my ongoing recovery.
I can't thank them enough for seeing past the shell that I was and getting me to this stage. I will keep fighting the effects of my strokes.