It’s been a while since we told the world about Olympic swimmer Josephine Pucci’s incredible life. Since the 2018 Winter Olympics are currently taking place in South Korea, we figured there was no better moment to bring her tale back into the spotlight.
Olympic Dream is Reborn Despite Brain
While we wait, we thought we’d fill you in on what’s been going on with Josephine while she’s been working with us in the Cerebrovascular Research Laboratory for the past two and a half years.
This intelligent young woman is now the lab’s Clinical Research Coordinator, and she claims that working in the field has only strengthened her resolve to become a doctor. Our last glimpse of her had her returning to Harvard to pursue a medical degree and a career in neuroscience.
A Harvard alumna and subsequent employee, she has just been accepted to medical school for the next fall. We are really lucky to have had the opportunity to work with and get to know such a brilliant and kind individual over the years she spent in the lab.
Josephine has expressed her enthusiasm for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The event brought up many fond memories, but she isn’t at all bummed that she couldn’t go. With a promising career in medicine ahead of her, she is embarking on her next olympic-sized adventure.
Enjoy Josephine’s Story Below:
Joesephine Pucci aimed for the stars. For a long time, she had spent her summers in national ice hockey camps. And she’d been a member of the U.S. national ice hockey team for two years.
Then, on a single day in 2012, a devastating blow was delivered to Pucci’s hopes and dreams. It was during a game between the United States and Canada that she was blindsided by a Canadian player. She was hurt, she was bewildered, and she kept bumping into other players, but she managed to stumble the few feet to the bench.
Her Concussion Was Quite Bad.
She moved into her Harvard dorm two weeks later, ready to start the new academic year. Her concussion symptoms, however, persisted. She had trouble focusing in class, experienced persistent head pain, and was hyperaware of every sound and light.
With the help of specialists in Boston, she made the tough choice to miss the entire hockey season and even drop out of school for a year. Throughout the fall and winter, she hardly left her bed. She recalled, “Even going for a walk was difficult for me.” “All I could do was sleep and try not to bring on my symptoms again.”
Pucci’s apprehension grew steadily worse. Her lifelong ambition was to be a member of the U.S. Olympic team. However, as the weeks and months passed, Pucci remained completely off the rink while her teammates skated and trained for Olympic tryouts without her.
She sought advice from her reliable advisor, Dr. Ben Stein, when she became anxious. Dr. Stein was Pucci’s ice hockey coach in the juniors league, therefore the two were old friends. The neurosurgery department of Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital was previously led by him. Hearing Pucci’s situation, Dr. Stein suggested she consult with Dr. Michael Sisti.
In January of that year, Pucci conferred with Dr. Sisti. To the young athlete, the meeting came as a welcome relief. The doctor was really soothing. He reminded me to focus on the here and now and not let my future hockey performance affect my performance in the present. I couldn’t have made it through the present without him. He looked into it and gave her a few suggestions based on his findings.
Pucci, for one, had an eight-hour test that revealed which parts of her mind were weak. Because of the test results, she has started treatment. Along the way, she also underwent a number of brain scans.
It was a long road to recovery. It was crucial to maintain self-control and avoid activities that brought on relapse. It was the most difficult task I’d ever faced. I found that avoiding any sort of interaction with other people, as well as any form of media or reading, helped alleviate my symptoms. I had to leave hockey, school, and my friends behind; my family was the one constant in my life and the support system I had.