Patient Story

Duluth athlete’s concussion recovery brings him back to the pitch

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After a car accident on July 8, 2019, Giovani (Gio) Douyon began experiencing memory loss, mood swings and changes in his emotional behavior. After three days of symptomatic behavior, his girlfriend recommended he seek help.

My girlfriend had a concussion a few years back, and hers was much worse,” said Gio. “She had a good experience at the Concussion Institute, so that’s where she recommended I go as well.”

Upon visiting the Concussion Institute at Northside Hospital Duluth, Gio met with Dr. David Schwartz and his staff for a checkup. He went through balancing tests, an eye coordination exam and a memory recall assessment.

Dr. Schwartz also gave Gio a speaking exam, altering his speech pattern and using humor to test Gio’s cognitive ability. The results were clear – Gio had suffered a concussion.

Dr. Schwartz and his staff immediately started Gio on a month and a half recovery process. Throughout this time, Gio was instructed to hydrate, rest, limit screen access, avoid excessive napping and shorten his workouts. For Gio, this meant giving up weekly practices with his rugby team.

Gio’s team, Atlanta Old White, was running an undefeated season after two recent tournaments and preparing to compete at nationals within the next month. Although sad to see him sidelined, Gio’s coaches and teammates understood recovery comes first.

Their number one priority was me being healthy, and they were very supportive throughout my treatment,” Gio said.

In September, and two weeks of symptom-free behavior, Dr. Schwartz cleared Gio to return to practice.

The team at Northside was very patient with me,” Gio said. “They explained everything in detail so I could understand it, and I left the Concussion Institute feeling reassured.”

Gio accompanied his team to the 2019 National Championship Game in August, where they placed 8th.

Being there for my team as a spectator meant a lot for me and them, and it was thanks to the doctors at Northside that I was there.” Gio said.

Now fully recovered, Gio still schedules check-ins with Dr. Schwartz and continues to keep a careful eye on his health. Atlanta Old White has big plans to take home the national title in 2020, with Gio healthy and back on the field.

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