Action 2 News anchor Sarah Thomsen continues recovery
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - “It’s been a long four months. A long four months. Longer than I thought it was going to be,” Sarah Thomsen says. “I think I’m getting better, but it’s really slow.”
As viewers have surely noticed over the past four months, Sarah hasn’t been on the anchor desk or reporting in the field for Action 2 News.
That’s because Sarah has been at home -- and remains at home -- recovering from a severe concussion she suffered in a car crash in mid-May, a crash which police cited the other driver for causing.
“It’s that divided attention where I’m trying to think of words at the same time as reading it for comprehension.”
Sarah never imagined she would essentially be working full-time at daily therapy sessions and at home trying to recover from a severe concussion.
Headaches, dizziness and blurred vision continue to be daily symptoms.
“It’s the divided -- trying to do two things at once -- that I can’t do very well, which is crazy with kids and our job. I mean, we have to be able to do two things at once, and it just instantly makes my head, gives me headaches and blurry vision.”
Twice a week, Sarah sees a speech therapist to work on retraining her brain to multitask.
The cognitive exercises are to improve attention and memory.
During one exercise, she’s asked to speak as many words starting with the letter M that she can think of in one minute. She was able to name 11.
When she’s not at speech therapy -- or physical therapy, as well -- Sarah is at home spending at least two hours a day doing all kinds of brain exercises.
Outside the house, what most of us consider normal activities, like back-to-school shopping, remain a struggle for Sarah.
“The motion of looking up and then looking down trying to scan for an item on the shelves, just -- I was done. It just makes me really dizzy. But people look at me and they’re like, ‘What’s her problem?’ so I wish there was something that says, ‘I have a concussion. Be nice to me.’”
One of Sarah’s doctors is Jeremy Metzler, medical director at the Prevea Concussion Clinic.
“This never is fast as everybody wants to get better. It’s just one of those things that’s just a time thing.”
Dr. Metzler says he is seeing signs of improvement in Sarah, but the rate at which one recovers is nearly impossible to predict.
“The saying among us who see a lot of concussions is, when you’ve seen one concussion, you’ve seen one concussion,” Metzler says, “because everyone is different. And it’s also interesting to note that a lot of the data out there is based off college athletes. I don’t have data based off 40-year-olds who are in car accidents, what their normal recovery process is like.”
That uncertainty about when or if she will fully recover is what’s hardest for Sarah.
She says, “I have no idea and nobody can tell me. I keep asking, when is the full recovery coming? And I’m just going to say I hope so. I don’t know. Don’t want to think about it. Don’t make me cry.”
If you know Sarah, then you know she is a fighter determined to overcome this.
Her doctors believe she will.
In the meantime, she wants viewers to know how incredibly grateful she is for all the support and well wishes she’s received.
“I’m trying, going as fast as I can. It’s just a slow, slow process, but I’ve gotten so many cards and letters and messages from people -- I’ve tried to read as many of them as I can, but if I didn’t respond to them, it’s hard to do that, it takes a lot of thinking,” she says. “So I haven’t responded to a lot of them but read them at least or had someone read them to me so I appreciate, I’ve felt all of it.”
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