Concussions: The Invisible Injury

Concussions: The Invisible Injury

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of a live sporting event. Players, coaches and fans experience excitement as the drama of the game unfolds before them. Every sense is intensified as athletes engage in the throes of competition.

As the saying goes, “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.” When an athlete suffers a serious injury, everyone holds their collective breath as trainers and medical personnel rush in and attend to the athlete. Parents worry about the long road to recovery that may lay before their son or daughter. Players worry about the valuable practices and crucial games that could be lost.

What about injuries that don’t appear serious, such as a concussion? The brain is such a complicated organ. A shot to the head may make one person a little dizzy but otherwise no worse for wear; whereas that same blow could send someone else to the sidelines and put them out of commission for weeks. Medical professionals describe concussions as “mild” traumatic brain injuries because they are typically not life-threatening and most people recover from them quickly. However, for some, the long-term effects of a concussion can be very serious and debilitating.

Concussions are commonly caused by automobile accidents, falls and stumbles, and even military service. However, aside from car accidents, playing sports is the next leading cause of these brain injuries in kids. While football players are most at risk, concussions are becoming more and more common among soccer players… and not just because of headers. In fact, according to a recent study, most concussions among soccer players were caused by player-to-player contact.

That is exactly what happened to Mikayla while playing indoor soccer in January, 2016. She suffered a concussion after being checked face first into the acrylic dasher boards by a boy twice her size. From that moment on, Mikayla’s life changed. She was told to rest for a few days, and all would return to normal. Unfortunately, the days quickly turned into months. Mikayla was in and out of various doctors’ offices with debilitating migraines, nightly insomnia and terrible fatigue.

The migraines she experienced on a daily basis left her unable to focus or concentrate in school. After time, she lost all motivation and energy to do anything at all. Her sleep patterns were also affected and she found herself lying awake many nights unable to fall asleep. As time went on, these feelings and symptoms worsened.

Mikayla became a recluse, isolating herself from others. She was unwilling to perform daily activities at all. She started to lose friends because she never felt good enough to do anything with them and when she did, she was not pleasant to be around. They didn’t understand. She looked the same, but she felt completely different. It was so frustrating for Mikayla to be unable to participate in activities she had been doing her whole life… she couldn’t play soccer, attend concerts or even go to school dances. Mikayla suffered extreme anxiety, feeling that she was becoming a burden to her family. She eventually lost all hope in recovery, her personality changed and severe depression set in.

Fortunately, Mikayla’s story doesn’t end there. Her family learned about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) and its success in treating concussions. At first, Mikayla refused to undergo treatments as she didn’t want to get her hopes up only to be disappointed yet again. Thankfully, her parents were persistent and convinced her that she had nothing to lose by trying. Surprisingly, she began experiencing relief almost immediately.

Very early into treatments she began noticing a significant decrease in the severity of her headaches. She went from having daily migraines to having only a couple a week. She also noticed that her memory was improving and found it much easier to concentrate and do her schoolwork. As her headaches became much less intense, she began communicating with people again. Daily activities became much easier and she was once again able to start participating in her life.

Since completing 13 HBOT treatments at Sara’s Garden, Mikayla feels more like herself again. She is now living life without the constant pain of horrible migraines in a state of hopeless depression. She is able to focus again has a much more positive and motivated outlook on life. She now feels good enough to attend events and is even going to her senior prom this year.

Mikayla never dreamed that something as seemingly harmless as a concussion would result in profound physical, emotional and psychological trauma that would ultimately plague nearly two years of her high school life. For anyone considering HBOT and wavering about whether or not to go through the process of receiving treatments, Mikayla’s advice is “Do it and don’t lose hope!”

Mikayla knows what it’s like to have lost hope and feel like you will never feel better again. Thanks to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy at Sara’s Garden, she believes she has been given her life back. For Mikayla, HBOT has been her light at the end of the tunnel and she is so grateful to have been given this opportunity.

No matter what you’ve been told, there is hope… for this and many other conditions. HBOT is treatment without drugs… without surgery… without pain.

Sara’s Garden to Host 2018 ACENA Conference

Sara’s Garden to Host 2018 ACENA Conference

Save the Date. We hope you can all attend!

Sara’s Garden is proud to announce that we will be hosting this year’s ACENA Conference in August. The Association for Conductive Education in North America (ACENA) is the representative body of programs and professionals providing Conductive Education services within the North American continent.

We are so excited to be able to convene hundreds of dedicated conductors, administrators and professionals from across the world to learn, connect, envision and build the future of the practice of Conductive Education.

The working theme of the conference this year is: CONDUCTIVE EDUCATION ~ BLENDING TRADITION AND INNOVATION. The conference aims to highlight how the discipline of Conductive Education is a holistic approach to intervention that bridges the gap between educational and therapy services.

The conference’s keynote speaker is Dr. Lynne Gauthier, Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at The Ohio State University. Dr. Gauthier will be presenting on “Neuroplasticity, Rehabilitation & Gaming.” Though a relative newcomer to Ohio State, Dr. Gauthier has made significant inroads in finding collaborators and obtaining funding to support a research program that uses neuroimaging techniques to study the clinical efficacy of constraint-induced movement therapy (CI therapy), which is used to treat hemiparesis resulting from stroke, cerebral palsy, and brain injury.

This conference should be an invaluable resource to professionals, educators, special education teachers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physicians, social workers, program directors and administrators and parents of children with special needs. We hope you are able to attend.

The 2018 ACENA Conference will be held at historic Sauder Village, in Archbold, Ohio from August 27-29.

For more information on conference details and registration or how to become an exhibitor and/or sponsor please visit the website at or contact Jackie Rice via email at or phone by calling 419.335.7272.

SPECIALized Summer Sports Program

SPECIALized Summer Sports Program

Every child has the right to enjoy the fun of playing sports, the joy of teamwork, the achievement of hitting a ball, making a goal, or crossing the finish line. Whether part of a team sport or enjoying an athletic activity geared for individuals, all children can benefit from the camaraderie, self-esteem, sense of belonging and accomplishment that comes from playing sports. This includes children with special needs.

This year, our team is in the process of planning sports-based summer programs for kids ages 11-18 called: SPECIALized Sports ~ Fun for all disABILITIES.

Many times, low self-esteem and a lack of confidence can plague children with disabilities. These week-long sports camps will utilize games such as basketball, soccer, and baseball to help enhance and strengthen their self-confidence, gross motor skills, social and communication abilities, as well as improve their emotional health and well-being. Being part of a team can help kids bond and develop friendships outside of sports.

Gross Motor Skills
The ability to perform controlled movements that require large muscles is known as gross motor skills. Movements that involve using the large muscles include walking, running, crawling or jumping. Often, children with special needs lack the ability to perform physical movements properly. When disabled children participate in regular physical activity, it enhances their motor skills by increasing their strength, coordination, flexibility and balance.

Communicating and Socializing
Disabled children frequently miss out on social activities, impeding their ability to better their communication skills. Participation in extracurricular activities can overcome this obstacle, providing them with the ability to engage in social interactions, develop friendships and initiate social skills.

Self-Esteem and Academics
Children who suffer with disabilities often struggle with a lack of self-esteem. They frequently will compare themselves with their able-bodied peers, giving them a decreased sense of self-worth. Recreational participation promotes their self-concept, self-esteem and self-worth, as well as their body awareness. Many children will also show improvements in their academics. The confidence that is gained from the ability to attain success in sports will make them feel like they are capable of achieving almost anything.

Emotional Benefits
There are some major issues that many disabled youth will at some point experience. Having disabled children take part in a recreational activity can aid in preventing different emotional conditions, including negative behaviors, depression, trouble adjusting to certain situations, stress and anxiety. Providing them with a certain amount of activity can assist their bodies and help them to function optimally.

We are very excited about what these summer sports programs have to offer and can’t wait to start. You won’t want to miss it!

Summer Intervention Programs

Summer Intervention Programs

Sara’s Garden will once again be offering summer interventions programs for children with disabilities. This year’s group camp will begin on Monday, June 4th and run five days a week for four weeks. Come experience a summer camp program like no other and meet families from all across the country.

Our group-based summer interventions schedule delivers inclusive programs that provide opportunities and interventions for individuals with a variety of conditions and disabilities. We serve clients with (but not limited to): ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), CDKL5, Cerebral Palsy (CP), Down Syndrome, Near Drowning, Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD), Spina Bifida and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Our caring and experienced staff of licensed therapists, conductors, and paraprofessionals create intensive therapy-based programs designed to enhance your child’s developmental skills. This approach not only helps your child to work towards increased independence, it also keeps the regression of skills that typically occurs over the summer months at bay.

Our programs provide education, fun, intervention, and socialization, in a safe, accepting and understanding environment while creating new opportunities for development for individuals with disabilities.

This month-long program is designed to expand each child’s fine motor, gross motor and/or communication skills. As well as improving behaviors, increasing eye contact, socialization, self-care and/or emotional skills. Based on the needs of the child, time may be spent on ABA programs, academics, relationship building, conductive education, sensory activities, special activities of swimming, music, arts and crafts, outdoor projects and physical activities. This group-based program is designed for children ages 3 through 18.

Our July programs will once again feature individualized interventions designed to target each child’s specific goals and is tailored to the needs of each child and family. We work with families to determine what their goals are for their child to focus on.

We openly welcome any interested families regardless of diagnosis, or the absence of a diagnosis. If you have questions or would like any additional information regarding our summer camp program, please contact Val at 419-335-7272 or via email at Be sure to ask us about our sponsorship fundraising program!

NHA Alma Mater

NHA Alma Mater

We are so excited to announce that New Horizons Academy now has its very own alma mater anthem. From the moment Mr. Marty started working at NHA this past January, he felt that NHA should have its own anthem that spoke to the school’s mission and vision. After spending time connecting with the amazing students and staff at the school, he was inspired to pen our first official alma mater.

New Horizons we sing your praises each and every day.
For here we learn that we are colors in a stunning rich array.
With peace and love and hope we dare to proudly, boldly speak.
At NHA we celebrate we’re each remarkably unique.
Where e’er our paths may take us to whatever distant shore.
One voice will rise above them all as we sing ‘Soar Eagles, Soar!’

We are in the process of having a score composed for these lyrics so that we can all sing it together at the New Horizon Academy’s very first graduation ceremony this coming May!

QuarterMania 2018

QuarterMania 2018

Clear space on your calendar! QuarterMania 2018 is just around the corner.

On Thursday, July 19, Sara’s Garden will be hosting its fourth annual QuarterMania FUNdraiser. Proceeds from this full-filled event will benefit our school for children with special needs, New Horizons Academy. New Horizons Academy at Sara’s Garden provides innovative educational, intervention and therapy services to over 100 children from over 20 school districts across Northwest Ohio. There will be many area vendors to shop from. The event will feature auctions, raffles, and 50/50 drawings.

Event Date:Thursday, July 19, 2018
Event Location:The Hope Center at Sara’s Garden, Wauseon, Ohio
Event Time:Doors open at 5:00, Auction starts at 6:30
Paddles:$3 each or two for $5

What is a QuarterMania?

If you are like us when we first heard of this, you are probably wondering, “What in the world is a QuarterMania event?”

A QuarterMania is a cross between an auction and a raffle where people ‘bid’ to win a product/prize of goods donated from local businesses and various home businesses participating in the event. Bids on these new items range from 1 to 4 quarters. There are usually between 40 and 60 items to auction during a QuarterMania.

When you arrive

When you arrive at the event, you will register and pick out a paddle (or several) with a number on each that is used for your individual bidding on the items you want to try to win. Paddles are $3 each or two for $5. All proceeds from paddle sales are donated directly to Sara’s Garden. 50/50 tickets are also available at this time.

How the auction works

The auctioneer begins by holding up a product and telling a little bit about the highlights and then tells everyone how much the item is going for – between 1 and 4 quarters. If you would like to bid on that item, you put the corresponding number of quarters in the collection pot then hold up your paddle(s) and wait for your number to be called.

Once all the bids are in – the auctioneer randomly selects a number. If your lucky paddle number is called and you have placed a bid , you WIN that item! Now, if you didn’t bid – you just say “no bid” and the auctioneer will re-shuffle the numbers and continue calling a number until someone who has placed a bid and is holding their paddle up wins.

It’s that simple, and it’s a load of fun!

That’s not all!

In addition to the biddings, there are 50/50 tickets and other raffle drawings going on throughout the evening. Tickets for raffle items will be $1 each or six for $5. Also, the participating businesses have a lots of specials as well as cash & carry items at their tables. Please stop by and support these individuals as these events would not be possible without them.

Food, desserts, and beverages will be available for a free will donation.

So… if you are ready for a fun-filled evening for a GREAT CAUSE, grab your QUARTERS and SOME FRIENDS and be there!

For more information on this event either as a participant or as a vendor, please visit the Facebook event page or contact Tina Whalen via email or phone at (419) 345-5302.

2018 “Drive Fore Hope” Charity Golf Scramble

2018 “Drive Fore Hope” Charity Golf Scramble

Sara’s Garden would like to invite you to participate in the 2018 “Drive Fore Hope” Charity Golf Scramble. We have put together a fun-filled day at Ironwood Golf Course in Wauseon, Ohio and hope to see you there!

Event Date:Friday, May 25, 2018
Event Location:Ironwood Golf Course, Wauseon, Ohio
Event Format:4-Player Team Scramble
Event Cost:$75 per Player ($300 per Team)

All proceeds from this event will be used towards the purchase of therapy equipment for our clients and students at Sara’s Garden and New Horizons Academy. Sara’s Garden is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is the only facility in the United States to offer Autism Intervention, Conductive Education, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Sensory Integration and Speech-Language Pathology services.

Registration Includes:

  • Scramble format (4-player teams)
  • Green and cart fees
  • Range balls
  • Goodie bag
  • Contests and prizes
  • Awards for top teams
  • Lunch Buffet
Schedule of Events
7:00 a.m.
Range Open
8:00 a.m.
Shotgun Scramble
1:00 p.m.
Lunch Buffet
2:00 p.m.

Partnership Opportunities

Platinum Title Partner – $1,500

  • Includes one foursome, event promotion, platinum title partner signage and program recognition.
  • This level of sponsorship will provide 15 hours of HBOT treatments or up to 43 hours of intervention services.

Gold Event Partner – $900

  • Includes one foursome, gold event partner activity signage and program recognition.
  • This level of sponsorship will provide 9 hours of HBOT treatments or up to 25 hours of intervention services.

Silver Contest Partner – $500

  • Includes one foursome, silver contest partner signage and program recognition.
  • This level of sponsorship will provide 5 hours of HBOT treatments or up to 14 hours of intervention services.

Bronze Meal Partner – $350

  • Includes bronze meal partner signage and program recognition.
  • This level of sponsorship will provide 3.5 hours of HBOT treatments or up to 10 hours of intervention services.

O2 Tee Partner – $100

  • Includes O2 tee partner signage and program recognition.
  • This level of sponsorship will provide 1 hour of HBOT treatments or up to 3 hours of intervention services.

For additional information regarding partnership opportunities or team registration for the Sara’s Garden “Drive Fore Hope” Charity Golf Scramble please contact Tara at 419.335.SARA or via email at

Please join us for a great day of golf filled with fun, great food, auction items, skill contests and fabulous prizes. Take a day off work for a great cause and meet some of the amazing people you are golfing to help!

Hope in the Midst of Life ~ April 2018

Hope in the Midst of Life ~ April 2018

If You’re a Caregiver, Remember It’s OK to Ask for Help.

If You Know a Caregiver, Offer to Help!

If you’ve ever tried to offer a caregiver a hand, you’ve probably found that it is very hard for him or her to accept help or assistance. Nurturers by nature are used to offering help and support, but they really struggle when they find themselves on the receiving end. Most caregivers don’t want to bother anyone, put anyone out, or seem like they can’t handle everything on their own; so even when people willingly offer to help, they have a natural tendency to smile and politely decline the help. But that doesn’t mean you should stop trying to help.

Here are six things you can do to bring a smile to the face of a caregiver in your life.

  1. Caregivers WANT to be remembered even if they have been caregiving for years. Over that time, friends often quit calling or stopping by, so CALL. Call just to see how they are doing or if they need anything. Let them know you haven’t forgotten them and still care! It will mean the world to them.
  2. Spring is just around the corner. Offer to plant some flowers to brighten your friend’s yard and day.
  3. Remember your friend’s birthday, as well as their loved one’s special day with a card or cake.
  4. Have you ever heard your friend mention any household “fix it” jobs that are screaming for attention? Maybe you and a few others can pitch in to help with it or hire a handyman for an afternoon.
  5. The next time that you’re cooking a meal, double the recipe, and share it with your friend. Give him or her a night off of cooking, but please be sure to take any special dietary needs into consideration.
  6. Holidays in general can be tough; so a special pie, cake, cookies, decorations, or even a small seedling can bring a lot of joy for Earth Day, Arbor Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s, or even the Fourth of July.

These are just a few things you can do for the caregiver in your life. There are lots of other things, so be creative! But please remind them to take care of themselves. Knowing that someone is thinking of them during a difficult time can make all the difference in the world!

Never underestimate the power of a kind word or a caring gesture! No matter how simple, it will make a difference!