Archery Provides Emotional
Healing After Traumatic
Brain Injury Archery Provides Emotional Healing After Traumatic Brain Injury

When Teagan Johnson suffered a traumatic brain injury, her life’s course was irreversibly altered. However, that injury wasn’t the crushing blow. That came weeks later when doctors said she could no longer play volleyball or other contact sports.

Her heartache was short-lived. She discovered her passion for archery and its many therapeutic benefits. Archery isn’t a game of stamina or physical strength. It’s a mental sport that requires extreme concentration and composure under pressure. It also has calming effects on the mind, and it can build confidence, especially for those who aren’t gifted in traditional “ball sports.”

On March 15, 2015, Johnson was doing her favorite thing, playing volleyball. It was a typical volleyball tournament until Johnson hit her head on the gym floor. The impact with the hard gym floor was so severe it caused a traumatic brain injury.

On Johnson recounted her story. “In the ensuing 20 months, I lost my memory and consciousness often, and endured 12 hours of physical, speech, and occupational therapy per week to learn how to read again and regain strength on the whole right side of my body,” she said.

A patient’s psychological health is a key factor in recovery. To help, Johnson’s father gave her a compound bow. The well-timed gift helped renew the sense of self she desperately needed.

“My parents recognized the need for me to get out of my depressive slump, and the need for me to be a part of a team,” she said. “As a result, my dad bought me a bow for my birthday. I had never shot an arrow before, but was intrigued.”

The compound bow was the right choice because compounds have mechanical advantages that make them easier to shoot, especially for archers with physical limitations.

When Teagan Johnson suffered a traumatic brain injury, her life’s course was irreversibly altered. But archery and her compound bow, gifted to her by her father, renewed the sense of self she desperately needed. Photo Credit: The Young Archer

In addition, archery is approachable with any athletic background, and it’s one of the safest sports. In fact, its three times safer than golf. Its calming effect is also therapeutic. Shooting arrows affects the mind much like meditation.

Archery renewed Johnson’s sense of purpose and provided priceless moments with her father. “It turned out that the bonding time with my dad was therapeutic for my emotional healing,” she said.

Johnson and her father practiced together with their compound bows all summer while she recovered. As they practiced, Johnson progressed from her wheel chair, to a hip shooter, and eventually to crutches. Her recovery time also included foot surgery from a horse accident. “The angst I must cause my poor parents!” she said.

When school resumed, Johnson eagerly joined her school’s new archery team. The team was immensely popular, with 40 of the school’s 250 students signing up. The archery team helped Johnson regain the sense of camaraderie she had known in volleyball, and archery became a new outlet for her competitive spirit. “Archery has helped me through my ongoing struggles and recovery,” she said. “It has given me strength, confidence, and a new lease on life. I look forward to this lifelong love affair.”

Teagan Johnson discovered archery’s benefits can transcend fun. It provides mental peace, confidence and a sense of purpose. At the same time it provided a competitive outlet while creating a bond between a father and daughter.

To give archery a try and discover its many benefits, visit an archery shop to take an introductory lesson and get outfitted with the necessary gear. Find the archery store nearest you here.

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