Getting back in the game: concussions, migraines can’t hold one York County boy down

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Ryan Harmer was almost benched for life, after suffering 3 concussions in as many years. Frequent Migraines forced the once dedicated student to drop out of school and spend most of his time in a dark, quiet bedroom. However, Ryan's mom refused to give up and kept searching for someone to help her son.

"I was like, you know, you'll be ok. And he wasn't. Things really declined quickly," said Lorri Harmer.

After taking her son to see a number of specialists without any luck, Lorri began to think her son would never recover from the concussions he received playing a game he loved so dearly.

"He was in the hospital getting IV's of cocktail migraine medications and three hours later they were back. There was nothing out there that was putting out the fire in his brain," she said.

Lacking energy and an ability to concentrate, the star basketball player was being benched from life. He even had to drop out of school. That's when Lorri saw something on Facebook about Dr. David Sullivan, a chiropractic neurologist at the Headache Freedom Centers and set up an appointment.

"At the time, Ryan was in really bad shape. He couldn't attend public school because of the bright lights and the loud sounds, let alone focus on the actual work. So really, his whole life was shrinking down to a quiet, dark bedroom," said Dr. Sullivan.

The two came up with a 3-month treatment plan and got right to work. Dr. Sullivan said the key was to get rid of inflammation in Ryan's brain. They did this by stimulating the vagus nerve, which controls things like the heart, lungs and gut and plays a huge roll in reducing inflammation. And it worked. After just a few visits, the inflammation in Ryan's brain was down and he began to feel more like himself. And now, after working with him for 3 months, he believes that Ryan is almost back to normal.

"To be able to work with them and help them through the process and get him back to living a happy, full life, i mean, to me, that's really rewarding," said Dr. Sullivan of Ryan.

Ryan is even back on the court again, and offered some advice about head injuries for his fellow ballers.

"Don't mess with it. I've seen a lot of my friends, they get knocked in the head and they say they will be fine... but it compounds and it can become a really big problem," he said.

It's a problem, Dr. Sullivan hopes Ryan won't have again.

"I don't have a crystal ball to see what his future holds, but I do know that for someone who was struggling so terribly, and to see him coming back to life and doing normal 16 year old activities and getting back to sports and doing well, I think that really is a good prognosis for his future."

Lorri says if it weren't for Dr. Sullivan, Ryan's future would not have looked so bright.

"If he hadn't gotten this help, I don't think he would have had a normal life again. I really don't," she said.

For more information on the Headache Freedom Centers, check out their website.