Madison Demarest, an 8th quarter Palmer Florida student, had three concussions, whiplash and a mild brain bleed by the time she was 15. As she worked to overcome the lingering effects of these injuries, Madison became fascinated with healing naturally.
After experiencing chronic headaches, she tried various prescription medications, but none helped. “I went from having headaches to feeling like a zombie with headaches. That’s when my mom took me to a chiropractor for the first time. After only two visits, my headaches were gone completely. Since then, I haven’t taken any prescription medications for my symptoms. I was absolutely fascinated,” said Madison.
Having experienced eight more concussions during her teenage years, she was never fully healed before getting another. Playing basketball and roughhousing with friends led to her early concussions but, sometimes, minimal force was all it took. Her doctors concluded that she’s more prone than the average person and advised her to simply be more careful and mindful of her surroundings.
Her many lingering neurological symptoms and lack of proper care eventually led her to a functional neurologist, Joseph Bova, D.C., DACNB (Florida, ‘13) who is also a doctor of chiropractic. “Dr. Bova’s combination of diet, supplements, neuro rehab and chiropractic care changed my life for the better and that’s when I knew what I wanted to do with my life!”
Madison immediately began to research chiropractic schools, touring four other colleges before Palmer.
“Palmer was the most welcoming and the only school with an understanding of functional neurology. Where the other schools had none, Palmer Florida has three professors with neurology diplomates I can turn to for answers. I love that the professors encourage their students to continue learning,” she said. The 15-minute drive to the beach certainly didn’t hurt!
Madison encourages new students to refrain from comparing themselves to others and getting too wrapped up in the small details of their studies. “I tell my peers to put themselves first, stay true to themselves, remember why they’re here and find their own interests, even if they aren’t the most popular thing!” she said.
She’s taking her own advice, too! In the two years Madison has been at Palmer, she’s not had a single concussion. She gave up contact sports, changed her diet, followed all of her treatment protocols and adopted non-negotiable self-care rituals. “I still get flare-ups from my injury history but now they typically happen when I eat unhealthily, eat out, my stress is high or I don’t sleep well. Sometimes, it is simply just not a good brain day but I believe that having better brain health has allowed me to gain better body awareness, which has limited me from hitting my head on everyday items.”
Post-graduation, Madison plans to finish her neurology diplomate and become board certified in functional neurology. She’s also considering a second certificate program in pediatric neurological development disorders, “I love mom and baby care so I figured why not get a second certificate that is more geared towards pediatrics! I am most excited about finally being able to use my knowledge and personal experience to give back to my future patients.”
Pairing chiropractic care with various professions such as nutrition, active rehab, pediatrics, women’s health, neurology and so many more was very attractive to Madison and her final piece of advice,
“Becoming a chiropractor is so versatile that you can make your degree into anything you want it to be!”