When the shrill noise of Karlee Galvin's alarm clock sounds, the Minot High senior no longer dreads the subsequent minute or two.
Galvin, nearly two years removed from sustaining a life-altering concussion, now begins her morning with a rub of the eyes, a reluctant roll out of bed and a race with the first-period bell.
That teenage haste would have been a luxury a year ago when she was in a constant bout with symptoms stemming from that brain-bruising hockey collision in 2011.
MDN File Photo
Minot High School senior goalie Karlee Galvin has gone through a two-year process of returning from a concussion.
Mornings just had a way of telling the severity of Galvin's particular case.
"Every time I'd wake up I'd see lights then throw up," said Galvin, who had developed hyper sensitivity to lights and sounds. "I was always spinning; I had no balance at all."
It's been an arduous recovery for the Majettes' goalie - a process involving four doctors in three states, intensive therapy and uncertainty - but Galvin's come full circle.
After being sidelined her entire junior season, she's made a seamless transition for Minot (5-2), tallying 108 saves in three appearances.
"She was fighting through it for so long and it just wasn't happening," Minot coach Weylin Wahlstrom said. "It shows you her character for pushing though it. It shows you who she is."
January 28, 2011
On Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, Minot traveled to West Region foe Jamestown in a forgettable one-sided loss to the Blue Jays.
Well, forgettable for almost everyone.
Galvin, who started at goal for Minot, collided with a Jamestown player at the net - causing the then-sophomore to smack the back of her head on the ice.
Considering the fact she'd played the uber-physical sport most of her life, she'd taken her share of spills and figured to shake this one off too.
Galvin finished the game unaware that she'd endured a recoil of the brain, which hit the back of her cranium with force before hitting the front.
"I knew something was wrong," Galvin said. "I just wasn't very informed on concussions and kept playing."
It wasn't until the following Monday when Galvin began to feel the onset symptoms of a concussion after feeling dizzy most of the day. From there she sought medical attention at Trinity Hospital, where she was diagnosed with a concussion.
Galvin went on to miss the next week of school in what proved to be the first of a laundry list of hindrances.
The right treatment
Knowing the remainder of her sophomore season would be shelved, Galvin and her parents - Mike and Bonnie - turned their attention to the following season.
With her junior campaign still months away, the timetable to recovery was favorable.
But they'd find out this wasn't a run-of-the-mill concussion.
Months went by and there was almost no improvement in Galvin's motor skills and spells of nausea were still a regular occurrence.
"It was hard to see her go through all that and not know how long (the sickness) was going to last," Bonnie Galvin said. "Sometimes it was a couple hours, sometimes an hour."
This warranted a call to Minot chiropractic neurologist Matt Samson and the young doctor's diagnosis of Galvin changed the complexion of the situation.
"(Samson) said it was one of the worst brain injuries he'd seen in a girl my age," Galvin said. "He put me a through a few tests and I failed all of them."
Samson referred Galvin to a neuro specialist in Fergus Falls, Minn., who eventually pointed Galvin in the direction of one of the nation's best: Dr. Ted Carrick.
Carrick, a renowned neurologist based out of Atlanta, helped deal with high-profile concussion cases of NHL stars including Sidney Crosby's.
Unfortunately, though, Carrick was based in Atlanta. The treatment coupled with the travel fare would cost a pretty penny.
"We were kind of hesitant about it at first," Bonnie admitted. "But we had to try something. She wasn't getting better and that was our main priority."
Road to recovery
Prior to Galvin's initial visit to Atlanta in March, she was at 20 percent in her recovery process.
After a week of testing that included goggles, balance and visions tests, she improved to 50 percent.
In August, her last of the two meetings, the road to recovery came to a joyous halt. Galvin was cleared to play again.
"I cried leaving the clinic," Galvin said. "I was devastated at the thought of never playing again, so to be cleared was amazing."
But just because she was cleared to play didn't mean family members and friends thought she ought to.
The prospect of going through that process, or worse, again didn't sit well with loved ones.
"Numerous family members thought my parents were crazy for letting me play again," Galvin said. "But it's not like I'd ever become a vegetable if I'm hit hard again. It would take a hit a whole lot harder, which would be very hard to do."
Her parents had concerns, too, but Carrick's methods have been proven and tested. They trusted the results.
"The doctors were 100 percent OK with it, so were we," Bonnie said. "If they weren't (100 percent) about it, then no, she shouldn't be playing."