Esther Lovett is a PCS survivor and dedicated concussion advocate. Esther stopped by the CLF offices in Boston before leaving for her freshman year of college to share some tips and wisdom about going back to school with PCS symptoms.
How are your PCS Symptoms these days?
I’ve been getting better over time, it’s been over 5 years that I’ve had PCS throughout a few different concussions. I’ve been seeing Dr. Cantu for a long time and doing different treatments that have helped, and then I think a big piece of it is just learning to manage symptoms and just figuring out how to go day to day still having symptoms and just staying optimistic about different treatments. I just keep getting better and better.
Tell us about your Headstrong Concussion project.
I started working on Headstrong last summer and the website officially came out in February. I’ve been involved with CLF for a long time and I still am, I sort of consider Headstrong my side hustle to CLF. But I just really wanted a place to connect with other kids and create a resource for them where they were getting real information about PCS, especially where they could follow along with my story because I felt it was helpful to me to hear other people’s stories and hear how they dealt with post-concussion syndrome. That helped me make choices during my recovery and just feel a sense of community and that there’s other people who are going through this as well and you’re not struggling alone. So more to create a community and to keep kids optimistic that you’re going to keep getting better and that there are lots of things to do and a lot of people that are going through this with you.
What are you looking forward to about going to college?
I am looking forward to heading off to college this week to Georgetown. I’m just excited to meet new people and figure out what I want to study.
Any back-to-school advice for people with PCS concerns?
I think it’s definitely important to talk to your doctor if you need any accommodations for school. Also just figuring out, whether it be neuro-psych testing or more just through your own experience, where you feel that you need more help and then either reaching out to find resources or yourself finding new ways to study. That really helps just to frame it in a new way. There’s a lot of resources at whatever school you’re at whether you’re in college or high school. Reach out and get a hold of those resources and make sure that you’re not struggling alone. Definitely be a self advocate and figure out what works for you. It may take a little longer to study, it can be frustrating at times, I know. But you’re going to find a way to do it for sure, and then you’re going to get better.
Any tips for managing PCS during the school year?
Through CLF and through my website Headstrong, I still talk to a lot of kids who are going through PCS as well and I think it’s really helpful to create a sense of community and connect with other kids who are going through something similar. Some tips I have for school – definitely utilize naps, naps are so underrated and can help give you a little boost after school before doing homework. Also, if you have struggles with your memory like I did, start studying early for tests and try using different mnemonic devices to help you remember. That’s been super helpful for me.