Several individuals competing in the Olympics this year are not only breathtakingly talented athletes, but they are also battling chronic illness of varying degrees and diagnoses. It’s just proof once again that disability looks very different on each individual.
Brittney Bowes knows: In 2016, Bowes suffered a concussion during a speed skating accident, and a POTS diagnosis followed. Getting a POTS diagnosis is often a long and difficult road, but because doctors already know about connections between traumatic brain injuries and POTS, it’s easier for many young athletes to get diagnosed, if they know that they’re at risk for long-term complications.
“Many athletes and former athletes suffer from the lingering effects of sports related traumatic brain injuries (concussions) or non-traumatic brain injuries,” says Dr. Patrick Nemechek. “The reasons that many athletes do not fully recover from their brain injury because either their ANS is not tested and treated, or they do not yet know that they may have been injured by cumulative, repetitive, or non-physical events.”
Bowe began a rehab program after her injury, and continued to train, but then decided she needed to take a break to heal fully. However, her time off caused additional anxiety and panic attacks. “There were days I would walk outside to get some fresh air and after about 10 minutes of being on my feet, my heart rate would be in the 140s and I would nearly faint,” she wrote.
Eventually, she went back to training with a program that incorporated rehab with a POTS specific workout. “My heart goes out to all the people that deal with head injuries and traumatic brain injuries and mental illness that don’t have the support I had,” wrote Bowe on Instagram. “Because without that, I have no idea where I would be.”
The POTS and Dysautonomia Treatment Center offers patients collaborative, alternative care aimed at treating the whole person, not just the disorder. Our team consists of a psychophysiologist, an internal medicine doctor, clinical health psychologist, and a registered dietitian who work with you to provide compassionate care through a full range of services.
Our treatment options include onsite intensives in Dallas, as well as online options you can complete anywhere. Are you ready to take control of your symptoms? Read more about our treatment options.