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Turning The Corner: how two lives were restored by a visit to Plasticity Brain Centers

Nora was a typical, active teenager and a sports enthusiast, full of unstoppable energy. Then, within a three-year period, she was involved in a series of incidents that resulted in traumatic head injuries. In July of 2013, Nora was involved in a serious car accident in which the car flipped over several times. What no one realized at the time was that even though Nora recovered, beneath the surface a silent crisis was brewing.

Then, three years later in April of 2016, she received a direct blow to the temple during a volleyball game causing a momentary loss of consciousness. After this incident, she began to display the classic post-concussion symptoms – headaches, nausea, cognitive difficulties, dizziness, as well as sensitivity to light, sound, and motion. It began to affect her home and most especially her school life. At this point, her mother Michele felt compelled to take her out of school hoping that she would recover in time for the start of the new school year in September.

Shortly after the school year began in the fall of 2016, it became painfully clear that Nora was in no condition to return full-time. Although Michele and Nora had been to several hospitals and specialists, the best they could offer was temporary relief by placing her on medication. As the family struggled to cope with Nora’s debilitating condition, things worsened in December of 2016. She was involved in yet another car accident in which the airbag deployed, compounding her already fragile state of health.

“When your child is afflicted by pain of any kind, the only thing you want to do is relieve the pain – make it go away,” says Michele, whose life was flipped upside down by her daughter’s health crisis. It seems the local doctors and specialists believe you must accept and learn to live and manage the symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome. However, the Saxman’s were aware that professional athletes were receiving a level of treatment that allowed them to return to play. So the search for that caliber of facility began.

Mother and daughter were barely in survival mode when a friend and neurologic chiropractor who is Carrick trained, suggested that Michele seek out the help of Dr. Antonucci, the lead Clinician and Director of Neurological Rehabilitation and Performance at the Plasticity Brain Centers, a clinic that focuses on all matters related to the brain.

Michele wasted little time placing the call and made arrangements to visit the Center; a state of the art clinic located in Orlando, Florida. She had a single thought in mind when they arrived, this is the last stop. Immediately upon arrival, mother and daughter sensed there was something different about the facility, and it was comforting. Michele recalls seeing the photographs on display of notable athletes who had been treated at the Centers, and she felt, “if it’s good enough for them, my daughter deserves the same.”

Unlike the hospitals they had been in and out of, and the numerous doctors they had seen who had left them feeling that there was nothing to be done about Nora’s condition – at Plasticity Brain Centers, Dr. Antonucci offered hope and a road to recovery. The facility and its staff of experienced board-certified doctors and neurology specialists, as well as patient care coordinators and therapists, have a single focus – the customized treatment of brain injuries and neurodegenerative conditions.

The facility prides itself on having the most advanced, cutting-edge technology, and a solid reputation for delivering on their promise to “provide exceptional outcomes.” For Dr. Antonucci and his team, it begins with understanding the extent of the injuries a patient like Nora has suffered from and what part of her brain has been affected. In Nora’s case, Dr. Antonucci assessed, based on a comprehensive diagnosis of her symptoms and evaluation of her injuries, that Nora might have suffered a series of mild concussions even before the later, more serious traumatic head injuries.

Nora spent five days at the Center and was treated by Dr. Emily Kalambaheti, a brilliant young Staff Clinician. According to Michele, these were, “five life-altering days.” Her daughter had suffered hearing loss in her right ear, but as the treatments began her hearing began to return. Guided by Dr. Antonucci, Dr. Kalambaheti followed a course of treatment specifically designed to retrain neural pathway areas in Nora’s brain that had been damaged. “I cannot tell you what it was like watching my daughter’s almost miraculous improvement. It was like we both got our lives back.”

Since the treatment at Plasticity Brain Centers, Nora has returned to school. She was President of her senior class and in charge of coordinating year-end traditions and prom activities for the year. Prior to February 1st, none of this would have been possible. Though she must follow some strict post-treatment regimens that include plenty of rest and a good diet to help re-build, Nora is back to being a typical teenager. “We were even able to go shopping for her prom dress, something that was impossible before the treatment at Plasticity,” says Michele.

“These are the outcomes we work so hard to achieve,” says Dr. Antonucci. “I’m so grateful to have a team of brilliant clinicians that are dedicated to their patients’ well-being and achievements. It makes all of the difference in the world for the patients, and our mutual success.”

Michele has become a passionate advocate and ambassador for Dr. Antonucci and Plasticity Brain Centers. “I have recommended the clinic to a number of people and will continue to do so because of the significant improvement in my daughter’s condition and the restoration of her outlook on life. That’s worth everything.”

For more information on Plasticity Brain Centers, you can visit

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