Launch of National Study of Female Athletes and Concussions

Press Release For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 

Launch of National Study of Female Athletes and Concussions

Study begins October 1, to explore Female Athletes’ Experiences with Concussions



Katherine Snedaker, MSW, / 203-984-0860

Dr. Jimmy Sanderson, Clemson University / 864-656-3996   


Norwalk, CT – Men’s football concussions are in the news daily from former and current players, but there's rarely news about female athletes' experiences with concussions. Female athletes experience a significant number of concussions, yet they seem too often overlooked when concussions are discussed in mainstream media. Mentioned in the report American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Position Statement: Concussion in Sport 2012data suggest that in sports with similar rules female athletes sustain more concussions than their male counterparts. In addition, female athletes experience or report a higher number and severity of symptoms as well as a longer duration of recovery than male athletes in several studies.

This new study will be focused on female athletes from all sports, and their past and present experiences with concussions. Current and former athletes are eligible for this study conducted by researchers from Clemson University with the advocacy group, Pink Concussions. For this study, female athletes, age 18 and over, who are willing to participate can sign up now at On October 1, participants will be emailed a link to a twenty-minute online survey about their experiences with sports and non-sport concussions and reporting concussions.


This research study will also explore female athletes' experiences with reporting concussions, another salient avenue in the concussions dialogue, as many athletes do not report concussions willingly or are mis-diagnosed.

The research also will investigate female athletes' willingness to have genetic testing that may show links to the repair and recovery of brain cells after concussion. After finishing the survey, participants in the study can opt for an additional study and consider submitting DNA collected by a cheek swab to be tested for variants at the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene.  Testing for certain genes has previously documented an association between specific genetic factors and outcomes from injuries such as concussion.

Apolipoprotein E is a protein that is important in the repair and recovery of brain cells that have been damaged due to concussion. The clinical studies point to a relationship between certain genetic signatures and poorer overall concussion response. While additional evidence is needed to better understand the relationship between APOE status and concussion outcomes, the American Academy of Neurology introduced APOE testing into concussion management guidelines this year.

The results of this research will help further concussion research by focusing on the communicative element present in this issue, and the results of the study will be helpful for athletes, parents, administrators, physicians, and advocates. This research will be beneficial in shedding light on female athletes’ experiences with concussions and reporting concussions. Often female athletes are omitted from the public discourse surrounding concussions and the results of this research will assist concussion advocates in raising more awareness about concussion issues in sports.

Co-Researchers in this study are Dr. Jimmy Sanderson and Dr. Melinda Weathers in the Department of Communication Studies at Clemson University, along with Ms. Katherine Snedaker, MSW, of

# # #

For more information about this study, help in recruiting athletes or to be a participate, please fill the contact form at or contact:

Dr. Jimmy Sanderson

Clemson University


Katherine Snedaker