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How I Recovered From Post-Concussion Syndrome

3 years ago

One of the worst things that could happen to someone reaching out for help is when the experts you turn to tell you they can’t treat you. Dr. Kevin Pecca has been to this same place. After a bad ice hockey concussion left him with blurred vision, headaches, dizziness, hand tremors, anxiety, and depression, Kevin reached out to numerous brilliant people in the medical field, only to find no answers to help him with his post-concussion syndrome. Deciding to take matters into his own hand and do everything in his powers to be healed, he then found himself in a Blair Upper Cervical office. Since then, Kevin’s life has changed tremendously. He is now healthy and even practicing the technique that helped save his life. In this special episode, Kevin takes the hot seat with Meigan Canfield of Conscious Collective as the interviewer. Dive deep into this amazing conversation to learn his story and what Blair Upper Cervical did to help him recover from post-concussion syndrome.


Listen To The Episode Here

How I Recovered From Post-Concussion Syndrome

With Meigan Canfield

If you enjoy this show, please follow us, subscribe on iTunes, give us a review. It really helps boost the show and spread the awareness. I had the great opportunity to go into the Conscious Collective Podcast. I get to share my story of how I recovered from Post-Concussion Syndrome. This is such a huge message for me because there are many people in the world suffering with Post-Concussion Syndrome. When you suffer with this for a long time, you’ll lose a lot of hope, you don’t think there’s a cure and you feel hopeless. I’m trying to spread the message here that you can recover from Post-Concussion Syndrome. It is entirely possible. Upper Cervical Chiropractic literally saved my life. It gave me my life back, that’s why I became an Upper Cervical chiropractor. It’s such a blessing to be able to share that gift to others suffering with this. If you know anybody who’s suffering with Post-Concussion Syndrome, please get them to an Upper Cervical chiropractor. It could save their life and it will definitely change their life. These people needlessly need to suffer with this condition anymore. They can get their lives back and functioning to their optimal potential. I hope you enjoy this episode. If it resonates with you, please share it. Thank you all for reading.


Thank you so much for agreeing to come on.

Thank you for having me. I love sharing what I do and how I got into holistic healthcare.

Any holistic health professional, I feel like learning from their brain. It's such an important thing to start infiltrating into our medical field.

People need it more than ever.

First of all, amongst the 2020 happenings, how are you doing?

I am doing very well. My family is doing well. Friends are doing well and I'm grateful for that. How are you doing?

I'm good too. I'm in Maui, so it's hard and not to be doing good. I moved here from Colorado. Do you know Breckenridge?

Yes, I do. I've been to Denver and Breckenridge. That's where the continental divide is.

I would love to start by asking you about your story, where you grew up, and who are you? Who is Dr. Kevin Pecca?

My name is Dr. Kevin Pecca. I am from New Jersey, a town called Howell. It's about Central New Jersey about ten minutes away from the beach. I have a great upbringing. I met some great people. Some of my best friends are from there that I still talk to. It was great to grow up and thankful that I'm from there. I moved about an hour North from there. I'm about 12 miles Northwest of New York City but I still go down there all the time. It was a great place to grow up.

That's why everyone comes from New Jersey to work in New York.

A lot of people commute from New Jersey to go into New York City.

Did you grow up with a holistic health-centered family?

When I was young, I was getting chronic ear infections and sinus issues. As we're trained in America, you go to the medical doctor to get antibiotics and to have it wiped out. My parents are very intelligent people, but that's what they thought was best. It would get rid of the infection, but it wouldn't solve the root of the problem so I was constantly getting sick. I started going to the chiropractor when I was in third grade and I didn't know exactly what it was. I remember feeling good as I left. I didn't necessarily want to be one until my health started to decline. I was surrounded by it at a young age and introduced to it. I loved it from a very young age.

Is any of your family in healthcare as well?

I have a good amount of family members in healthcare. My cousin Maura is in Santa Monica. She is a chiropractor that specializes in pregnant women, babies, and kids. She’s amazing at what she does. She led me into the field. I remember going out to California for her wedding when I was young and I was like, “I got to live out here for a little bit.” That's how I ended up going to chiropractic school for four years. She was a big part of why I became a chiropractor. I have an orthopedic surgeon down in Tampa. I broke my elbow before I graduated from chiropractic school. I had an Obamacare health insurance, so no one was going to pay for the surgery. My cousin, being the guy that was, flew me down to see him. He did the entire surgery. It was a bad break and I probably wouldn't be able to do what I did if it wasn't for him and did after so. He saved me so I'm thankful for that. My younger cousin graduated from chiropractic school. My other cousin is a holistic chef. She's a private chef. She makes healthy meals for people. She's great. There's even more. We are a big family. My family is in the healthcare profession for sure.

You dabbled on your story when your health started to truly decline. Would you mind expanding on that?

I was twenty years old. I was a relatively healthy person. At that time, I was in the prime of my life. It was the best time I was having. I was with my friends. I was in college. I was playing hockey and having a great time overall. I got a bad ice hockey concussion. The concussion left me with blurred vision headaches, dizziness, hand tremors, anxiety, and depression. I got the concussion on a Wednesday and the symptoms didn't show up until the next week. It was a little bit tough for me to connect the dots and what was going on. I woke up one morning and it was the worst I ever felt and the symptoms weren't going away.

I was scared. I thought I had a brain tumor. I did what most people would do in that situation. You go see your primary care physician. They send you to the neurologist. Most people at that point were telling me, “Rest and your concussion symptoms will go away in 2 or 3 weeks.” After 2 or 3 weeks, I felt even worse. They told me to wait for another month. I waited another month and I was getting progressively worse as the weeks were going on. I am not getting better. I wasn't getting any answers so I ended up seeing a couple more neurologists. They put me on seizure medications because I told them my hands were shaking. I couldn't sleep at night. I used to have to put both hands under my pillow to help them stop shaking.

I told them I was in a severe amount of pain all the time so they put me on painkillers. I told one doctor that I was severely depressed. It’s not that I was a depressed person, but these symptoms were making my life intolerable. They put me on antidepressants. I was on a cocktail of medications and what the doctors didn't tell me is these medications have side effects. When I was taking the antidepressants, I was having more suicidal thoughts. I remember, I was seeing a regular chiropractor at the time. I told her, “I'm on antidepressants. I don't think the medication's working because I'm feeling more depressed and more suicidal.” She's like, “Maybe they are working.”

I was like, “What do you mean?” She was like, “These medications have side effects and sometimes it makes you feel even worse.” I was like, “I didn't even think about that.” I completely stopped taking all the medications I was on, which I don't recommend. You're not supposed to do that, but I didn't know what to do. I drifted into a dark place. I was not getting any answers from these brilliant people that were telling me to rest. Some doctors even thought that I was lying to them. They're like, “Kevin, it's all in your head,” because my MRIs and CT scans were coming back fine. The blood work came back perfect yet, I felt like I was dying on the inside.

I felt like I was in a mental prison. You get all the tests back and they're like, “Kevin, there's nothing wrong here. It was almost like you're making this up.” Some people told me I had a traumatic brain injury and I was going to have to live with this for the rest of my life. That's scary to hear at twenty years old when you should be thinking you have your entire life ahead of you. I was gearing up for a long miserable life. My relationships and my friends took a turn and diminished because I didn't want to go out. I didn't want to talk to anybody. I was in so much pain all the time. All I wanted to do was sleep. In the last two years of college, I locked myself in my room and waited for the day to pass so I can go to sleep. That was the only time I got any relief.

On a good day, I would have maybe 1 or 2 neurological symptoms. On a bad day, I wouldn't be able to get out of bed. The pain was too exhausting. For about six months, that was my life. It's like the Twilight Zone. Every day is the worst day of your life and you can't figure out why. I would have very unexplainable knee pain every single morning. It would wake me up around 7:00 AM. One day, I wake up and the knee pain is unbearable. I roll over on my side and I remember being physically and mentally exhausted. I was hopeless. For the first time in my entire life, I didn't want to live anymore. I thought about ending that day because I couldn't take the pain anymore.

It was too much. I’m sitting up and I started to bawl my eyes out crying for a couple of minutes. I then collected myself. I figured that that wasn't the answer and that I needed to see this through. From that day forward, I was going to do anything possible in my power to feel better and get better. I mentioned this, “I would do anything possible.” If you told me you had an answer, I was going to go seek it out and at least see if it was for me. I went to go see a priest at a Catholic University. They have a big Basilica on campus and I figured, “Maybe I'll go to this priest. He might throw me a couple of Our Father's, Hail Mary, has sprinkled some water on me, and maybe something will happen.”

I remember going to see the priest and I walk in. The guy had a pack of cigarettes on his desk and a fully grizzly beard. He was the first person in years to sit down and meet me on my level. It wasn't a doctor talking down to me. He wanted to hear what I had to say and hear me. Sometimes when it comes to healing, that's half the battle with some people. Some people want to be heard because some doctors don't even listen to you. They want to throw the scripts and the pills at you and be on your way, but this guy sat me down and listen to me.

After I told him the same story, he said, “You can do all the hoping, wishing, praying in the world, but if you don't go out there and find the root cause of this problem, you're never going to get better.” I was pretty shocked. I thought he was going to throw some religion at me and stuff like that. He brought up a good point. He said, “Out of all the people that have been on this planet, there has to be at least one person that has gone through the same thing you have gone through. Find that person and if you can't find that person, be the first person to beat it. You got to stop feeling sorry for yourself and you got to do everything in your power to be healed.”

I remember getting out of that meeting a little shook up. I didn't know what happened. I knew he was right and I knew I had to take matters into my own hands. One of the first things I did is I called an ex-professional hockey player who had concussions and was doing pretty well at that point. I talked to him on the phone and he led me to an osteopath that was doing platelet-rich plasma injections. It's where they take your blood out. They spin it around to create platelets and it stimulates healing. They take your blood out, they spin it around and they inject it back in you. The needle is huge and I was getting it right around the brainstem.

I remember this doctor was the first person to tell me that he can get me better. I remember he was looking at my mom and I and my mom lost it. She started bawling her eyes out crying because when you have an injury like this, it affects the entire family. I didn't know that. When I saw my mom crying and I was like, “I got to get better here because not only am I everybody around me is feeling my pain too.” That was a lot for me to begin. I was like, “If you can tell me you can get better, let's do this because I need something. I need a miracle.” After the first injection, I felt good. My brain fog lifted normal for the first time in two years.

Unfortunately, it didn't last. I woke up the next morning and it was back the same way, but I got that ten hours where life was good again. It’s like a veil was lifted and he did something. I spent a good amount of time with that doctor, the shots ended up. They didn't work for me, but he was the first doctor to tell me posture dictates function. If you clear out the interference around the brainstem, you'll be able to heal. That stuck with me. This whole time, a lot of the doctors were telling me, “Whatever you do, don't see a chiropractor.” I didn't get any chiropractic adjustments for years because these doctors were telling me.

Fair enough, I do agree with them to some point. You see some chiropractic videos of people who are getting their necks cranked one way and the other way. I'm not a fan of that type of chiropractic and that's probably what they were thinking. I agree with them in some sense, but I ended up going to see that doctor I was telling you about in third grade, the one I grew up seeing. He got me about 60% to 70% better. I was seeing him about 3 or 4 times a week, which was pretty excessive for a year. He was getting me functioning again, which was great. He was doing specific upper neck adjustments. He was doing this chiropractic technique called CBP, Chiropractic BioPhysics, where they put a thing around your neck and they try to restore the neck curve and it was helping, but it wasn't staying in place.

If I didn't see him for a week or two, all my symptoms would come back. If I would take that, I will be miserable like I was. I figured there's something to this chiropractic thing. It's getting me somewhat better. Let's go study it and see if I can heal myself here. I moved out to California and sure enough, my neurological symptoms all started coming back the brain fog and dizziness. I thought I was going to have to get ready to drop out of school again, go home and call it quits. What I thought was going to be my last week at chiropractic school, my friend, who was tutoring me, which was about a year ahead of me in chiropractic school said, “You don't look good. What's going on?”

I remember telling him, “I have headaches, blurred vision, and dizziness again. I think I'm going to have to drop out of school and go home.” He went, “I might know one person that could help you.” I said, “I've heard this before. If you tell me, you can help me. I'm going to knock on that door and see if it's for me.” I thought this was my last weekend. I went into that office thinking this is another treatment, who knows if it's going to work. I remember turning the corner on his office door to, “Expect Miracles.” That grabbed my attention and made me think I was in a true place of healing.

It's funny how the universe works. I am sitting down with this doctor telling him the same story I'm telling you and he laughed. He had a big smirk on his face. I am depressed. I looked down and looked up, then I noticed he is laughing. I was like, “What the hell is funny? It is not a funny story.” After I'm done telling my story, he said, “Kevin, I had the same story as you. I was wrestling with my friend on a baseball field.” He was losing the wrestling match. His friend picked him up, dropped him on his head unintentionally. He heard a huge crack under the base of his neck. He thought he was paralyzed. After 5 or 10 seconds, he wiggled his fingers and everything. He realized he wasn't paralyzed.

He got up, started living his life again and then about 7 or 8 months later, he had all the same symptoms I was describing before. He found what I do now, which is called Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic. It's a specialty within the chiropractic field. They focus on the first three bones in the neck, where the brainstem is. They take very precise, three-dimensional X-rays and they put everything back into alignment down to the exact millimeter. We say, “Holding is healing.” Our goal is to give you one neck adjustment, which is huge because I used to go to the chiropractor 3 or 4 times a week to get checked. Our goal is to give you one neck adjustment and have it hold weeks to months to years, which it can.

Everything he was telling me, I was, “This seems phenomenal. This is perfect, but I have heard people say, ‘They're going to get me better,’ and it's failed. You need to show me the money here. Let's see if this is going to work.” They took the x-rays and laid me on the table. I never had a doctor talk to me like this, “Lay down on the table. I'm going to save your life now.” I've never had anybody talk to me like that, but I liked it. I was like, “Let's go.” He adjusted me and it's so light and gentle. There's no twisting or cracking. It almost feels like they didn't do anything.

It feels like he tapped me on the neck. I'm still laying on my side. He went, “How are you doing?” I felt the warm sensation under my ear like the blood flow going back to my head that was clogged for many years. I said, “I think I'm feeling pretty good.” He got me up and I remember standing up for the first time. The first time in countless years, my anxiety and depression went away almost immediately. I felt like I was at ease for the first time in years. After these adjustments, the rest you in the backroom to let everything rebalance. I felt a universal force life jumped back into my body.

I felt connected to a source again that I haven't felt in a long time. I left the office and the colors on the trees were brighter and greener. I remember getting home that night and I was like, “I don't know what this guy did, but I am feeling phenomenal.” One thing I left out of my story was I didn't sleep through the night too well for like years. I didn't sleep soundly through the night. I would wake up toss and turn, and then that knee pain would wake me up early. I was constantly exhausted and I remember my head hit the pillow that night and I woke up the next morning and it was the first time I slept through the night in like a long time. I remember getting up that day and with every fiber of my being like, “This is what I need to do for the rest of my life.”

I didn't heal overnight. I had a couple of great days, but true healing does take time. It was a little bit up and down roller coaster ride for a little while, but every week something would get better until about six months down the road, I looked in the mirror and I was like, “I don't have headaches and brain fog.” My life is back. Waking up every day is the worst day of your life. You have such an appreciation for life when you wake up and you don't have any neurologic issues. You're clear and connected. It was the worst time of my life, but it also the white at the end of the tunnel. I wouldn't have it any other way because you have such a profound appreciation for life and being healthy.

When people walk into my office feeling the same way I felt all those years ago, I have such empathy for them. I know where they've been. I do everything in my power to help remove the interference that's going on in their life and try to restore everything. When they get their life back, it's why I do it. It never gets old. It's such an amazing thing to see. Every time I tell this story, it still gets to me. It's a powerful adjustment. It's very light, but powerful meaning and life-changing. I am forever grateful for it and it's the reason why I do what I do.

That was an amazing story. Thank you so much for telling us that. At the end of the day, what was it, at least for you? Do you know what happened? What was the case?

I've probably had about 5 or 6 ice hockey concussions undiagnosed. I’ve had about 3 or 4 diagnosed concussions, 5 or 6 times where I remember to hit my head playing ice hockey, 2 or 3 more times growing up being a dude, tackle football. I played a bunch of sports growing up. There were many times where I hit my head skiing and sledding. There's no disc space at the top of your neck between C1 and C2 like there isn't the rest of the spine. Your head weighs about 10 to 13 pounds. When you have little traumas, car accidents, sports injuries, falling off the monkey bars when you're a kid, it's easy for those top two bones to lock out of place. When that happens, the brain can't communicate with the spinal cord and heal itself anymore.

That's where the nerve flow and blood flow get cut off. The concussion issues set in, chronic fatigue, and neurological disorders. It's tough for people to connect the dots because the body is good at adapting, feeling that even if it locks out your body does a good job of trying to get the blood flow up another way that your head tilts. People don't feel their symptoms until years later. I have many patients that walk into my office and say, “I woke up one day and my ears were ringing. I have vertigo and off-balance.” Usually, we find that these injuries happen long before the symptoms show up. You could have had an injury when you were five years old. You can be getting chronic, severe migraines at 20, 30 years old. That shows up one day when in reality, your body was good at adapting. It just had enough one day and the symptoms show up.

It was definitely from ice hockey. It was from those concussions and what showed up was the first bone in my neck. When we say people are out of alignment, we're talking millimeters. It's very small, but it can put pressure on the cord. My first bone in my neck, the Atlas was going a little bit backward and my C2 and C3 right under that were going forward. It was like somebody was wrenching a cloth around my brainstem. There wasn't enough nerve flow and blood flow getting through to my body and I was suffering immensely. I didn't know about this and I suffered for years.

Nobody told me about upper cervical chiropractic. Before we were talking, you asked me, “Why did you want to start a podcast?” The reason I wanted to start a show was that if somebody gave me some of this information before, I wouldn't have had the worst years of my life. I would have had part of my life back, which was a blessing at the same time because I did come out on the other side. I know what it's like to Google symptoms and be scared out of your mind. I remember googling Post-Concussion Syndrome and worst-case scenarios always pop up, “You're going to have to live with it for the rest of your life. There's no cure.”

What I'm trying to do is to add value to whoever needs it and spread the message that there are answers out there. It might not be in the mainstream, Western medical route. If I can make anybody's life easier by telling my story by inviting other holistic doctors on, healers, people with amazing life stories on my show, it is called Expect Miracles. If I can make anybody's life easier through that, I've done what I've come to do. It's about getting the information out there. If you keep knocking on doors, one will open for you. That's exactly the message I'm trying to get through to people.

I honestly didn't understand chiropractics before this conversation.

The chiropractic I do is a specialty within the field. Only about 5% of chiropractors do it because it's specific. It takes a couple of years to learn and get down, but if you take the time to learn it, you will see miracles happen in your office all the time. There are not a lot of people doing it, but if anybody that is reading wants to find an upper cervical doctor near you, you can go to, type in your zip code and see who the closest person is to you. You can even reach out to me. I'll let you know if there are any good. I'll direct you to the closest person to you to help get you better.

I honestly had that thought. I was like, “I wonder if there's one in Maui.”

There's a Facebook group that a couple of times, people were searching for some upper cervical doctors in Hawaii. I think there are 2 or 3.

I would love to try it. I'm so interested. I love this niche of chiropractic. It's so interesting to me because it almost seems more spiritual. It is connected to the brain and your brain equals your experience here on this planet. If something is messing with your brain then your experience will be worst.

The guy that founded the technique, BJ Palmer, his whole message was healing happens from above down inside out. He was a spiritual dude and a great guy. It's pretty in the tune of your show and everything you've been preaching to.

How do you move these bones?

I have a cone beam CT scan in my office. You might see them at the dentist's office where you sit down and it goes around your head and it reconstructs a three-dimensional image of what your neck looks like. We have an analysis of what we do and we figured out which segments are out of alignment, which way they moved out of alignment. We use a very special table to do the adjustments. You're not laying on your back. There's no twisting, cracking or pulling. You're laying on your side and it's different for everybody, depending on which side your misalignments are on.

We measure your joint angles so we hold a protractor. You put it over the patient's head. It's a nice light tap on the neck and it's specific that when the table drops, it slides it right back into place. I've had people that said, “Is that all you're going to do?” I said, “That's it.” I get them up. I rest them. They come back to my office and they're like, “I don't know what you did, but I am feeling good.” That's what I liked about it because it's light. I'd never liked getting my neck cracked. I always felt weird to me. I might've gotten relief from it for an hour or two, and then all my symptoms would come back.

That's another great thing about this technique. I've had people come from far away, different countries, different states. Sometimes, I only have 1 or 2 chances with them and I'll get them adjusted. They'll come back 4, 5, 6 months later and that same adjustment I gave them is still in place. What that means is their body can continue to heal without me. I was always reliant on another person, another doctor to get me better when once this is put back in place and it stays there, you become your doctor. The body continues to heal without the presence of someone adjusting you.

The body is beautiful. As the patient, can you feel the adjustment? Does it hurt?

It usually doesn't hurt, but people report almost immediately that it can get a little warm under your ear because the blood flow that was cut off starts going back to your head. You might feel a little tingling sensation going down the body in a good way. You might feel lighter, clearer, more connected, and a boost of energy that you haven't felt in a while. Also, some people get tired after these adjustments, because there was so much tension and pressure on the nervous system for so long that once you remove it after the first adjustment, usually people sleep a long time. Their body is no longer in that fight or flight sympathetic nervous system mode. They want to relax and heal. You get a great night's sleep.

I would love to try this. I've had a lot of issues with insomnia. I am super intrigued. Do you ever see people for the sake of taking care of their menstrual cramps? Does it help with that?

Menstruation cycles, pregnancy and fertility issues. It works with almost everything because this is the gateway to our health. The nerve passes through. If there's any interference, there are nerves all over the body that aren't getting that 100% nerve flow. Once you open it back up, anything is possible to heal. One of my favorite stories is I had this woman that went to China. She came back and she had this awful rash all over her face. It wasn't anywhere else. She went to all these doctors that were given to her these creams. She tried all these natural oils and everything. Nothing seemed to be working. I told her, “I've never seen this before. I don't know what this is, but I do know that once we clear everything up, your body will have the best opportunity to heal.” I gave her the adjustment.

She came back a week later, I was like, “How are you doing?” I told her to put some coconut oil on her face because it's antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal. I said, “Come back in a week.” She comes back in a week, no change, but she was still holding that same adjustment I gave her. I said, “Everything's good.” She was like, “I am not thrilled because the rash is still there.” I said, “You're holding. Come back in two weeks.” Maybe it's a little bit better, not too much. I remember she came back around the 4 or 5-week mark and it was completely gone. The only thing she did differently was getting upper cervical adjustments and the power that made the body heals the body. We remove the interference and her rash was gone.

She's referred countless people into the office and she's got her life back. It was pretty bad because it was her face. You can cover it up if it's under your shirt or anything. She was very grateful for that. That's something that you don't even think of that can help it. This one girl came in. It was an emergency. She was having a seizure all day. They brought her in and took the x-rays as best I could. We laid her on the table and got her adjusted. After one minute, the seizures stopped and it was one of the most amazing things I've seen. You see a lot of amazing things happen. I get a ton of post-concussion cases because that's my story. People resonate with that. I see a lot of post-concussion symptoms clear up. You name it, people have gotten better from it.

Is this something that you would recommend to everyone do?

That’s for sure. I bought a practice from a woman that was doing this for many years. In the course of her span of doing upper cervical chiropractic, she saw about five adults that were in alignment. That tells you that most people are walking around out of alignment that could use a boost. If you're healthy and feeling well, your body can still get to that next gear and function properly. I have a ton of people that come in and they're like, “I'm always tired, but it has nothing to do with this. I don't even know why I'm telling you that.” You get the nerve flow back and the energy levels pick up. Miracles do happen. Everybody could use it.

I'm excited to hopefully try this. Please do send me information on anyone in Maui. Thank you for bringing your story forward and telling us your vulnerable parts.

I love doing that. I love it when people come on my show and layout all the cards on the table and don't pull anything back because there's a certain realness to that. People connect with that so I try to do the same thing.

Where can people find you?

I have a show called Expect Miracles. You can find that on any music, podcasts and listening platforms. I have a website, I'm on Instagram, @KevinPecca, on Facebook at Montclair Upper Cervical and Kevin Pecca. I'm on YouTube at Dr. Kevin Pecca. I haven't started TikTok yet. I want to get on that. Type in my name on any platform and I have content there.

Thank you for coming on and we'll stay in touch.

Thank you so much, Meigan. Best of luck with the show. You're doing some great things. Thank you for having me.

Have a beautiful day.

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