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BYMS Alumni Profile: Jayden Pritchett

Photo Courtesy Of J. Pritchett

Photo Courtesy Of J. Pritchett

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For most BYMS alumni, entering high school as a freshman is a time of adjustments to a new campus, classes, teachers and activities. For Jayden Pritchett, BYMS alumni class of 2016-2017, these  adjustments were further complicated by the pain of recovering from two major concussions and the decision to retire from the sport of soccer and become a competitive high school golfer.

During the 2016-2017 competitive soccer season, Pritchett, a goalkeeper for Strikers’ North FC Girls U15, experienced her first of two concussion when she flipped in the air and  landed on her head and shoulders after a slide tackle from an opposing forward while Pritchett was  attempting to block a shot from entering the goal.

“I lost consciousness for about 10-15 seconds as well as my speech for about 10 minutes,” stated Pritchett in an interview with the Matador Messenger.

Ten minutes later, Jayden’s  second concussion occurred as she managed to again save a shot from the opposing forward only to have the player collide into Pritchett, causing her to fall on the back of her head.

Pritchett’s concussions immediately caused loss of speech, loss of consciousness, a headache, and an immobility of her shoulders and neck.

Even after medical care and regaining consciousness and speech, the lingering effects of the concussions changed Pritchett’s everyday life. The severity and frequency of  migraines reached a point where there were days in which she couldn’t attend school. She found herself incapacitated by the pain. “I was unable to play soccer or barely go outside my room without getting a major migraine,” stated Pritchett

During a follow up appointment doctors diagnosed Pritchett with “Grade1 Separation” in her shoulder and also discovered that Pritchett was suffering with children’s fibromyalgia and dysautonomia, which started happening after the injury.

“Fibromyalgia is a chronic — meaning long-lasting — disorder that causes widespread pain and stiffness in the tissues that support and move the bones and joints,” according to childrenshospital.org.

“Familial dysautonomia is a rare genetic disorder of the autonomic nervous system (ANS).It is characterized by diminished sensitivity to pain, lack of overflow tearing in the eyes, a decrease in the number of knob-like projections that cover the tongue (fungiform papillae), unusual fluctuations of body temperature, and unstable blood pressure.The autonomic nervous system controls vital involuntary body functions, according to mottchildren.org.

But despite the ongoing physical pain and the added struggle to maintain academic excellence as an honor student, Pritchett’s desire to continue as a competitive athlete did not diminish, even though contact sports, including soccer, were no longer an option for Pritchett. She decided to give golf a try. “One day I decided to give it a try and I never knew I could love any sport as much as I love soccer,” stated Pritchett, who grew up watching her dad play.

“Golf is by far one of the most difficult and technical sports in the world. The most challenging part about golf for me is if I have a bad shot I need to find exactly what I did wrong to ensure it does not happen again,” stated Pritchett in an interview with the Matador Messenger.

Jayden has some advice for people going through similar challenges. “Don’t be close minded. I used to think that there was nothing else in the world other than soccer and all of my focus was there. Broaden your horizons and work hard,” advised Pritchett.

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BYMS Alumni Profile: Jayden Pritchett