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Brandy Nelson advances to FCCLA Nationals for the third time

Incoming GMR senior Brandy Nelson holds on to the awards she won at the state conference last March for her FCCLA STAR Events project titled “More Than Just a Melon,” one highlighting concussion awareness. With this project, Nelson advances to the FCCLA National Conference for the third time in four years. This year’s event takes place in Nashville, July 2-6.

Incoming Greenbush-Middle River High School senior Brandy Nelson suffered her first concussion playing basketball in ninth grade. 

“I really didn’t think much of it,” Nelson said. “I was really eager just to get back to playing the game and get back to school.”

This would prove to be just the beginning of Brandy’s journey with concussions, one that taught her some lessons along the way and influenced her to inform others about concussions. She did so through her FCCLA (Family Career and Community Leaders of America) STAR Events project titled “More Than Just a Melon.” 

With this project, Nelson would advance from the regional competition to the state conference in late March, where she would advance from there to the national conference in Nashville, Tenn., July 2-6. This visit will mark Nelson’s third trip to the national conference in four years, but first in two years. Nelson talked about her journey with concussions, her project, her upcoming trip– including her reaction to advancing back to nationals– and FCCLA’s impact on her. 

So what happened after she suffered that concussion? Following this first concussion, Nelson was out of school for a month, as she was told she couldn’t return until her headaches were gone. She decided to go back sooner on her own, after seeing her grades start to suffer.  A couple months later in July, she was playing at a basketball camp and she suffered another concussion.

“I didn’t let that (first) one heal whatsoever,” Nelson said. “I stayed home for a couple of days, but by then I was off and running again, doing my other activities.”

Then, her tenth grade basketball season began. In practice, she began experience migraines and bouts of dizziness.

“I wasn’t enjoying the sport like I used to,” Nelson said. “I started to hate basketball because it’s just my head hurt so much all the time (doing it) and it wasn’t fun for me.”

Eventually, her grades began to suffer due to having a difficult time focusing in class. She explained how when she was thinking too hard, she would experience headaches. 

She then went to the doctor, where she was told to take a two-week break. She did so, to see what would happen, but explained how she experienced no changes. She was then diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, and was told that she would experience onset concussion symptoms even if the concussion may have already passed. 

To see the complete story, read the June 28 issue of The Tribune in print or online. 

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