Month: February 2016

Protect Your Skull

Hi Friends, I’m so excited to share with you something that I think is pretty terrific! As many of you know after my cheerleading accident in 2012 I was left with a concussion that lasted for two months. At that time it was not mandatory that all high school athletes were required to take a baseline concussion test before they ever stepped onto a field or court. Because of this there was no way to accurately tell when and if my brain had fully healed. This resulted in a long process for me of healing and resting my brain so we could be sure it was safe for me to return to normal everyday activities. I took a poll on social media and out of 50 people 50%  had taken a baseline concussion test, 25% hadn’t, and the other 25% didn’t even know what it was. Today it has become more common and even mandatory that schools and professional teams require all athletes to take a baseline concussion test before starting a sport, however we need to reach a point where it is required by every single person in their life so they will have a marker no matter who they are, we also need to encourage people to take this test regularly as they age.  In athletics today it has become not if you get a concussion but rather when. “Athletes today are bigger, stronger, and faster than ever before.”

So let me take a moment to educate you a little bit on concussions and what exactly they are. The CDC describes concussions as a “type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain.” The CDC estimates there are between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports related concussions every year, this classifies it as an epidemic. So what symptoms are associated with concussions and what should you do if you think you might have one? Also how can you prevent yourself from getting a concussion when playing a sport or being active? The CDC says that concussion symptoms may show immediately after the event or it could take hours or days to realize. Here is a list of signs and symptoms that someone might observe in a person with a concussion: loss of consciousness, moves slowly, appears to be dazed or confused. Here are symptoms you might feel if you have experienced a concussion: headache, nausea, vomiting, memory problems, or  dizziness. There is no solid way to prevent a concussion so the biggest key is to be aware of the signs and symptoms so that if it happens you are able to take the steps needed to protect and care for yourself.

This is when my super exciting news comes into play. I recently teamed up with a sportswear brand called Protect Your Skull, this brand was designed by two former athletes to bring awareness about concussions and traumatic brain injuries to the game. I’m so excited to share this awesome brand with you! While more has been done recently to bring awareness to concussions and TBI there still isn’t enough done, that’s why brands like Protect Your Skull are so important because they get people talking about something that isn’t talked about enough and concussions are a big one. I’m really so excited about this because I am a huge advocate for bringing awareness to things and this specific cause is very close to me. The only way we can truly make a change is by beginning to discuss such topics and funding research. Below I have attached some of my awesome PYSkull gear! I’m so excited to wear it and remind others about concussion safety!

You can purchase your own Protect Your Skull gear online at their website http://www.protectyourskull.com You can also follow them on their social media platforms to watch this awesome brand evolve into something truly amazing instagram: @protectyourskull twitter: @pyskull

Just because you haven’t been directly impacted by concussions and traumatic brain injuries doesn’t mean you won’t, these can happen to anyone and everyone. Again, the key to success is to understand what a concussion looks like and what you can do to Protect YOUR Skull.

A huge thanks to the creators of Protect Your Skull for allowing me to share such an awesome brand with you all. It’s so reassuring to know there are others out there too fighting to bring awareness.

For more information on concussions visit the CDC’s Heads Up page: http://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_prevention.html

 

 

 

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“How are you alive?”

“Wow that’s crazy I’m a cheerleader, no offense but how are you alive?” she asked…..I laughed and said back “yeah it could have ended a lot worse, I’m lucky.”

I had this conversation 3 days ago as I talked to a girl my age that was working at the boutique I had stopped in to pick up a dress for a charity event. I completely blew past what she said and didn’t think about it again until last night when I was laying in my bed trying to fall asleep just like I am now. 

What if things had ended differently, I mean it’s very possible they could have. In fact a numerous amount of things could have happened; I could have suffered a brain bleed, fractured my spinal cord, been paralyzed, or even died. This is all very hard for me to realize because in my mind it was just a fall. I never saw it and I have no recollection of the actual falling part. However more and more as I tell my story and am given the “oh my god” expression on so many faces I realize that maybe this was more than “just a fall.”

We face death everyday and as I journey into my life each day I begin to realize just a little bit more how fragile our existence here on earth is. As I’m surrounded by new friends along my journey and learn their stories I begin to realize more and more just how often death is imminent yet cheated and then I learn of times in which it is not cheated and it becomes the end.  

I used to feel invincible, that it was okay for me to do anything without the thought of its reprocusions but I know now that isn’t the case in life. And if you apply physics to this situation it really isn’t the case, for every action there is a reaction. I believe in science quite a lot and have come to notice in my daily life just how evident this is, however the reaction always varies; positive/ negative, what I expected/ not what I expected. I think as we get older our sense of understanding on just how this action/reaction thing works becomes more prominent and we become more cautious.

I often tend to forget that my fall wasn’t “just a fall” but rather me cheating what could have been death. I am reminded that this is something that could have ended differently and with that I am cautious to be so adventurous with all of my soul but I am also reminded not to let my worries and fears of possible reactions cloud my drive to accomplish what I dream of.

The action/reaction theory is very important to understand and put forward in our daily life. It’s important to stop and think about this theory before applying decisions into our lives. This girl reminded me to pause and to use this theory  when I am in situations that I have control of, to weigh my reactions and value my soul because it is fragile and doesn’t get nine lives, sometimes I wish I was a cat. However I am not a cat and am not really sure I quite get the whole reincarnation thing so for now it seems as if this is the only shot at life I’ve really got. So how are you alive? What has happened, what has allowed you to continue to breathe? Why are you still here when so many times you could have slipped away? What is the reaction, the reason for the action of you being here? How can you cause positive reactions to ricochet? 

 Story Time 

  I was honored to be able to spend the day at Floyd Central’s dance marathon yesterday with my sister and mom! I’m so thankful to Floyd for allowing me a place to share my story and for their students being so awesome! 
“My name is Merideth. I’m so honored to be able to spend this day with all of you. When I first started sharing my story at Dance Marathons a little over a year ago I hadn’t quite figured out exactly how to go about it. I could have told you all a long story about the human body, I could get super nerdy and rattle of terms and things most of you had probably never heard of. Or I could get super emotional and share with you how over the past four years of my life I’ve gone through more than I would have ever expected to in my entire time on earth. But I’m not much of a crier , and so far out of all my story sharing times I’ve never cried, and Floyd Central you are not going to be the first. My story started four years ago when I was in a cheerleading accident, I fell 10 feet head first. I suffered a concussion for 2 months and was diagnosed 6 months later with a disorder in the autonomic nervous system of my brain called POTS. Over the last 4 years riley has become my second home as I’ve been in and out of the hospital. Now here is when I could tell you about all I’ve gone through but that’s not the point. Sure my high school experience has most likely been far different than yours; I’ve never been to a high school party and I consider my doctors some of my best friends. I can tell you how I spent a year in a wheelchair or how I’ve had more seizures than I could count on my fingers and toes. I could tell you what it feels like to have chemicals rushing through your veins. But I don’t think that’s what matters here. You see right now we are all under one roof together, for one reason, to fight for the kids. I can tell you about my friend Eibhlin who passed away 2 weeks ago from cancer, or my little friend Emma who is fighting a monstrous disorder as we speak, they can’t share their stories but I carry them with me. I can tell you that being under this roof today is one of the most meaningful things you will ever do with your life. You might not ever know what it’s like to fall asleep alone in a hospital bed by yourself but I do and I am telling you now that what you are doing today makes you a hero. Today it doesn’t matter if you’re popular or not, today it doesn’t matter if you have good grades or not, today it doesn’t matter if you have someone that likes you or not. Today matters because together we will stand and fight for a chance for Eibhlin, and Emma, and Mia, and Alex, ,and Jack, and Savannah, and Mickey, and every other kid that will ever have to fight for the one thing we all deserve: a chance at life. My story is one of hundreds and no matter how many stories you hear at the end of the day it is your decision to stand with me. I will be standing every day wether you decide to join me or not. Today I hope you push all of your worries aside, I hope you come together with me and create an army of awareness for every kid that will every step through riley. I’m not going to stand here on this stage and go over every hard ship I’ve experienced because you’ve experienced hard ships too. I’m going to stand here and ask you to stand with me, I’m going to ask you to stop and realize the greatness of life, to treasure each breath you breathe in and breathe out. Through all of this all that I’ve gone through I’ve realized that in order to make a difference we have to have a voice. My new friends this world is amazing and I’m so glad we get to fight here today for it together. For the kids always.”