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My Legacy: Former Pro Surfer Mercedes Maidana Pledges Brain

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Your brain can heal. You can have a beautiful life. Trust and reach out for help. My name is Mercedes Maidana. I’m a former professional big wave surfer and I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury in March of 2014. I was competing at a big wave competition in Oregon when a 35 foot wave broke right in front of me. The force of the wave took me under and when I was heading underwater my board came straight to my forehead with all the power of a 35 foot wave I went back to surfing big waves for two seasons while I had a severe concussion and every time I would fall off a wave or just have waves breaking in front of me that was rattling my brain and hurting it even more. So, basically, I got concussions upon concussions on top of my injury until two years after the accident, the main accident, I just couldn’t even function anymore.I couldn’t do any aspect of my life. My life started to become harder to navigate every single day. My cognitive functions started to fail. and basically I could barely get myself out of bed and make myself a meal. And that lasted about 5 months. I just didn’t have the energy to walk one block without having the feeling of dizziness and being about to pass out. Even though I was going to see several neurologists and sports doctors nobody really gave me the guidance that i needed at that time. They were just trying to cover the symptoms with medication but nobody was trying to see what happened to my brain and how we could heal it. The way this concussion affected me it affected every area of my life I lost my career, I had to leave my sport behind.I could not even keep a regular job because I was constantly fatigued for two or three years. So it was really hard. I got depressed, I had anxiety, and I just did not want to live. That’s when I needed to seek help and I had to do a drastic change in my life. Nothing is taken for granted in my life right now. Just to be able to have a normal day with friends and be able to keep up with conversations and not crash out of exhaustion, that’s something that makes me really happy and grateful. The legacy that I would like to leave behind is to tell people that if they do an extreme sport like I was doing or any kind of sport that exposes you to having head injuries to take the precauations and do the right things so you can avoid the injuries because education is the number one thing that we need here so we can survive these TBIs and overcome them.I know that there is hope. You just have to go and seek out the help. I’m here if I can help guide anyone sharing about what I’ve done that helps. Hopefully that’s something that can change other people’s lives as well. .

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