2016 SDBIF Scholarship Recipient Alexis Van Pelt’s Winning Essay
September 21st, 2014 changed my life forever. It was a beautiful day on the soccer field to be goal keeper. All I remember after that is waking up to people surrounding me and I had blood all over my face. The referee was making stay down on the grass, but I couldn’t breathe because I chocking on my own blood. I was rushed to the emergency room and was told along the way what happened. I was kicked in the faced by an opposing player at full speed and it knocked me out. I soon found out the whole right side of my face and nose was shattered and I had to have surgery to plate my face. I was nauseated and was vomiting from the concussion. This was just the beginning of my brain injury and I had no idea that a year and half later I would still be dealing it. I am such a determined, strong, well rounded and smart person that my brain injury can’t stop me from furthering my education, continuing to recover or being involved in sports.
My brain injury can’t stop me from doing well in school. I have many symptoms of the concussion that interfere with my daily life. The main problem is school. It is so hard to keep my grades up and function at the level that I was at prior to my injury. However, with my determination and using my resources I am able to succeed.
I have a 504 plan in place with my high school and it has really helped me when I had my AP classes last year. I overcame the obstacles that were presented with learning my junior year with a fresh brain injury and having AP classes. I missed six weeks of class and still managed to pass my classes. I got a tutor four days a week. I could not remember anything that I just learned. I have always been a really good student and always maintained a 3.8 grade point average. After the injury I was studying all time with a tutor and barely passing with c’s. It was very frustrating because I didn’t understand what was happening. All that I knew was that I was working ten times harder and nothing was making sense. I didn’t give up though. I communicated with my teachers and kept working. I passed my junior year. I knew I could anything!
Now it’s my senior year and my brain still wasn’t healing. I just started working with a speech therapist that my rehab team at Rady’s Children’s recommended for executive functioning skills. The therapist taught me how to set external ques on my cell phone as reminders for tests and important dates. She helps to try to stay on task with learning. I am also having a neuropsych evaluation that can give more information regarding the specific resources and accommodations that I might need from the college.
My brain injury can’t stop me to further my education in college. I decided to advance my education at Cal State San Marcos. I already applied for disabled student services (DSS) and spoke with their director. He said he will be able to help me there. I am also having a nueropsych evaluation soon that can give him more information regarding the specific resources that I might need from the college. At the college level, the DSS can give me testing accommodations in a quite area, help me pick the classes I need, be a resource for me, have a note taker etc. I feel with the DSS resource by my side that my injury won’t stop me from doing well at the college level.
Besides furthering my education, my brain injury can’t stop me from staying active and staying involved in sports. My passion is to be active. I will not let my injury stop me from being active even though I can’t play contact sports such as soccer. I have found others ways to stay active and to be involved in sports. This helps me stay balanced and happy. I managed the Jr. Varsity team last year and received a letter for managing the varsity team this year. I was involved as a team member, I was at every game, every practice. I was able to participate in as much activities as I could. I would travel on the bus with team, went to senior night with the team, set up with fields, recorded stats, and helped the players and coach with whatever they needed. I was still a part of the team, most importantly. It taught me a sense of responsibility and opportunity to stay in a team sport. My concussion will not stop me from doing the things that I love.
As you can see, I am a very passionate and determined person. I am smart and having a wiliness to do whatever it takes to accomplish my goals. I do not see my injury as a as something that stops me. I just find new ways to work with the new me. My brain injury can’t stop me!