Much like his favorite basketball player Kyrie Irving, Kai was also sidelined this basketball season due to injury. Unlike Kyrie, Kai’s injury did not require a surgical procedure, but it felt equally as severe. Kai sustained a concussion during basketball practice. While playing defense Kai was struck by an elbow in the head, fell to the ground, and hit his head again on the court. He immediately felt a black eye coming on and his head hurt.
When Kai first came to SPARCC he had a headache and balance issues, but he was full of energy and appeared to be a happy kid. As the coming weeks passed, his symptoms got worse, school became difficult, and he still could not play basketball. Kai was understandably frustrated and felt like there was no foreseeable end to his problems. Even when everything seemed hopeless, Kai continued to pick himself up and showed true resiliency, much like Irving has over his injury-filled NBA career.
Very gradually, Kai began to feel a little bit better, he was able to do more physical activity, and then school got out for the summer. He felt like he was back to being himself and wanted to be cleared as much as any patient we have had at SPARCC. Kai even looked up the King Devick cards online so he could practice them at home. All his efforts paid off as he improved some of his times by 20 seconds. He then flew through his exercise testing and crushed his cognitive test scores. As he waited for Dr. Minor to review his tests, Kai challenged SPARCC staff to agility ladder races and showed us how to solve Rubik’s cubes. After much anticipation, Dr. Minor delivered the news that Kai was cleared!
After almost four long months Kai was finally able to return to the basketball court where he belongs, ballin’ up players twice his size in his brand new Kyrie III shoes. Kai and his family wanted to share that they really enjoyed their experience at SPARCC because they felt like it was a team effort to get Kai back to full speed, and they could tell that we truly cared for him.
By Erin Peterson & Libby Frino