(CBS) — For those who think concussions only happen to kids that play contact sports like football or hockey, think again.
Fifteen-year-old Olivia Taylor is a basketball player from Seneca High School in the far south suburbs. What happened to her has changed her life forever as she tries to regain control of her memory.
Olivia suffered a head-to-head collision, which knocked her to the ground in a JV basketball game in January. She remembers none of it.
Her mother, Stephanie Taylor, does.
“When the coaches did get her back up, she had no idea who they were, where she was, why she was there,” she tells CBS 2’s Rob Johnson.
Olivia was rushed to Lurie Children’s Hospital, where Dr. Brian Hang was the ER doctor on duty. He saw her loss of memory as a red flag.
The teen missed school for two and a half months. She could do virtually nothing except speech therapy. She had to be re-acquainted with her parents, four siblings and her best friends.
“The family had a hard time with it — when your aunt, your sister, my sister, comes to the door and my daughter doesn’t recognize her,” Olivia’s mother says. “And of course there’s the sadness of that she doesn’t remember growing up or going to the park or the family vacations.”
It wasn’t any easier on Olivia’s friends.
“It was pretty hard because I knew the real Olivia was in there. I knew that she would come through eventually,” Mackenzie Maierhofer says.
By early April, Olivia was back in school, and that’s when her short-term memory kicked in. As for her long-term memory, she was horrified to return to her bedroom to see that the old Olivia liked pink walls.
Things aren’t all bad. Olivia is back to playing basketball, she gets her driver’s license in the fall and makes regular visits to Dr. Hang. Hang thinks she’ll be OK.
Olivia says she wants to continue playing sports because it helps her feel more like herself. Her mother believes her daughter received an earlier concussion in January but didn’t seek medical care.
That means she could’ve been subjected to “second impact” syndrome, which may explain the severity of this concussion.
Doctors say it is vital to seek medical care if you think your child has suffered any sort of brain trauma. Concussions can happen to anyone, boy or girl, no matter the sport.