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Reuben's Story

Strength had never been a problem for Reuben. The teen athlete was powerhouse. But when four concussions in a span of two years caught up with him, Reuben needed to summon a strength of spirit. Here’s how you helped..

Reuben’s mom Kimberly brought him to Children’s National so he could see the experts with our Safe Concussion Outcome Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program. Reuben and his mom met with neuropsychologists Dr. Gerard Gioia and Dr. Christopher Vaughan.

“Every visit was extremely thorough and involved a battery of physical and cognitive tests,” says Kimberly. “The doctors explained everything to me and made me feel safe and supported, like my son was getting the best care possible.” 

Reuben would need to balance rest and breaks with schoolwork, sports and activities to recover. But his teachers and coaches pushed him to get back to work. Reuben couldn’t understand why he struggled to keep up. The teen began to worry that he was exaggerating his symptoms.

He pushed through, then suffered headaches and nausea. Dr. Gioia reassured Reuben that his symptoms were real. “Having him back me up helped me trust myself,” Reuben says. 

Dr. Gioia began communicating with Reuben’s teachers and coaches. He helped them understand that Reuben needed to limit his activities and exposure to bright lights and noise.

Working with our SCORE program helped Reuben recover and learn to advocate for himself. That’s an incredible way your support of critical programs helps kids grow stronger! 

Reuben, now a high-school junior, feels powerful once again. “I know how to keep my brain safe now,” he says, “and if anything happens, I have help.” 

Thank you for supporting innovative pediatric care. Because of you, brave patients can get the specialized treatment and ongoing support they need. You’re making a real difference.