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Picture this. Several months of wearing sunglasses and rushing home to lie in the dark with eyes closed. A whole year of blurry memories and never-ending headaches. This was the unfortunate experience of Eliana Bloomfield ’25 during her first year of high school.

“Let me tell you the story I don’t remember,” Bloomfield said.

After suffering a severe head injury during soccer tryouts, Bloomfield spent the next year shuttling between doctor’s appointments and struggling to follow along in her classes, unable to read much or take notes. She said this experience created feelings of intense isolation.

“I really thought I was one of the only ones [dealing with something like this], or that I was going crazy,” Bloomfield said. “All these typical forms [of connection with others] were either hard or impossible because of my symptoms.”

However, by the end of her painful recovery, she had an idea, which eventually blossomed into her nonprofit organization, Concussion Box. 

“I still had work to do to process my own experience before starting a greater project,” Bloomfield said. “That’s basically the inspiration for [the organization]—just really trying to address the issue of isolation.”

Bloomfield officially founded Concussion Box a year and a half ago. She aimed to connect people with concussions to each other through thoughtful care packages and an extensive free audio library of concussion stories. After thoroughly reading up on the basics of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Bloomfield successfully got Concussion Box approved as a 501(c)(3) organization, thus opening up many more possibilities for its future.

“[The approval] opens up a lot of doors for making partnerships with other organizations,” Bloomfield said. “[It also] gets us tax-exempt [status, and] we get our own business account. [In addition,] we can get full sale deals [and] hire people.”

In order to address the experience of isolation throughout an uncertain path to recovery, Bloomfield carefully curates her boxes to fit the needs of concussion patients. The boxes can be purchased individually for $25 or donated to a friend through the Concussion Box website. In the future, Bloomfield would love to partner with bigger institutions, such as the University, to donate care packages more widely.

“It’s all about connection and comfort,” Bloomfield said. “The greatest gift you can give somebody is a story and a way of connection.”

Bloomfield’s nonprofit focuses on providing tools for people who have lost the ability to connect with others through their usual modes of communication, but Concussion Box also provides box recipients with material comforts. Every box features both practical items, such as earplugs and handmade eye masks to address any sensitivity to light and noise, alongside some special treats.

“Number one?” Bloomfield said. “Chocolate. My mom has always had a saying, ‘Have a little chocolate.’”

The boxes also contain a short, easily understandable book called “Bounce Back: Reclaim Your Life After a Concussion” by Vanessa Woodburn and a QR code to an audio stories library, providing some informative resources tailored to the specific needs of concussion patients.

“There are people who have gone through this,” Bloomfield said. “There are avenues for support and a community behind [concussion patients].”

While care packages are an important part of the nonprofit’s work, Bloomfield said she is especially proud of the Concussion Box audio library, her main focus with the organization.

To develop the collection, Concussion Box recruits people whose lives have been affected by concussions in some way, such the concussed individual, a friend, or a family member, and asks them to tell their story. The storyteller can receive as much or as little guidance retelling their story as needed before a recorded version is uploaded into Concussion Box’s audio library.

“[We] reach out either through social media, word of mouth, or email to make the connection,” Bloomfield said. “A lot of it is really just calming people down and saying it’s okay to say ‘um’ and ‘like’ and that we’re not looking for you to sugarcoat [the experience]. We want it to be authentic.”

Bloomfield said Concussion Box is unique because of the nonprofit’s awareness of its audience and of the challenges that people with concussions face in terms of internalizing information.

“A lot of [other concussion organizations] have a blog, and it’s a crowded page and it’s all written…in dense and scientific language,” Bloomfield said. “It doesn’t feel like it’s made for people who are going through the experience.”

To identify gaps in existing concussion resources, Concussion Box has been collaborating with other organizations to continue to evolve its work. In close collaboration with the Brain Injury Society Of Toronto, the nonprofit is developing a workshop to facilitate support groups for concussion patients.

“We are working on developing a four-series workshop on telling your concussion story,” Bloomfield said. “There are support groups already. There are blog posts already. There are doctor’s appointments already. Now we want to [work with] restorative storytelling and work that in with [facilitating] more human connections.”

At the University, Bloomfield is looking for new ways to integrate the work of Concussion Box into the student body while simultaneously bridging the gap between Wesleyan and the broader Middletown community.

“I would love to do more events with Wesleyan,” Bloomfield said. “I hear a lot of [people] at the University talking about a lack of connection [with Middletown]. I think this is a real opportunity to have Wesleyan work with the rest of the community. It’d [also] be great to start a club.”

Last semester, Concussion Box held a sleep mask-making event in partnership with the Middletown Senior Center. Bloomfield saw the event as a successful way of uniting Middletown residents and Wesleyan students around a common cause. She expressed excitement about planning more sewing events for the spring semester.

Moving forward, Bloomfield hopes to involve other students, allowing the nonprofit to begin running more autonomously. As a full-time college student, she said she needs help leading and expanding the organization.

“I’m so passionate about this, but I can’t be staying up until one in the morning reading IRS manuals.”

As a prospective Neuroscience & Behavior major, Bloomfield sees her passion for concussion awareness intersecting with her study of the brain. However, as she continues her education, Bloomfield knows that balancing Concussion Box with school will be a challenge.

“I feel like I’m living a dual life,” Bloomfield said. “Sometimes I’m in school, and then I sprint back to my dorm, and then I have two back-to-back meetings with these other concussion agencies, and these middle-aged people are peering their heads, and they’re like, ‘Is that a dorm room?’ I’m just like, ‘Yeah, it is. And no, I’m not 30.’”

Ella Henn can be reached at

Jo Harkless can be reached at

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