What outcomes do we hope to have in our study?
We are launching a new study of female athletes from all sports, and their past and present experiences with concussions. I am working with Dr. Jimmy Sanderson and Dr. Melinda Weathers, two researchers from Clemson University, who are very passionate about concussion education. The study has been approved by the IRB at Clemson University and we plan to publish the results. Through social media and our sports contacts, we hope to find female athletes, age 18 and over, who are willing to participate and have them sign up via PinkConcussions.com. 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. After October 1, participants can simply launch the survey via a link on PinkConcussions.com.
This is a qualitative study, meaning that rather than trying to predict or control, we are looking to understand from an experiential standpoint, what female athletes experiences are from their point of view. Then we think those results can inform additional studies with other groups that can then be used to generalize. There also is the potential for this study is to look at experiences as well as WHY athletes (in this case female athletes) are not reporting concussions. One of the most visible issues in sports is players, trainers, parents not reporting concussions to coaches, administrators, or doctors, and we wanted to try explore why does communication apprehension or reticence, occur in this context?
Finally, we also hope to create a database of women’s names, ages, sports, concussions, etc with their permission; and hopefully other researchers will want to do follow-up studies in the future.
Most importantly, just simply conducting this study, we want to raise public awareness for women with concussions. The study itself will allow any woman who wishes a chance to tell her story – in survey form – and for her to feel she is a part of our project and hopeful not alone. We hope this study helps in some small way to make this issue visible to the public and press, and creates a community feeling for the women involved.
Short Description of the Study
Dr. Jimmy Sanderson and Dr. Melinda Weathers in the Department of Communication Studies at Clemson University, along with Ms. Katherine Snedaker, MSW, of PinkConcussions.com, are conducting research to explore female athletes experiences with concussions and reporting concussions.
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.
The Sample Size
This is how we described how we would find participants for this study for the Clemson IRB application. We are accepting participants from any country.
Katherine “will recruit female athletes using her professional network of contacts. This will involve snowball sampling and networking through social media outletes such as Twitter. Only female atheltes over the age of 18 will be included in the study.”
The survey will be “live” on October 1, and the women who volunteer to be in this study will be emailed the link to the study at that time. We plan to continue to enroll women in the study after October 1 through October 31st, 2013, and will directly send them the link at that time.
Type of Sports
We are accepting female participants, age 18 and older, who have played any sports. On the survey, we have an open text box for participants to type in all the sports they have played.
We wanted to be able to see what sports these women played, to learn in which sports they were concussed, and to find out about any non-sport concussions without limiting the participants’ choices. This is a study where women are volunteering to come forward and share their experiences so we really have no idea which women will come forward, from which sports, or what they will share.
For Release: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Launch of National Study of Female Athletes and Concussions
Study begins October 1, to explore Female Athletes’ Experiences with Concussions
Katherine Snedaker, MSW, PinkConcussions.com / 203-984-0860 PinkConcussions@gmail.com
Dr. Jimmy Sanderson, Clemson University / 864-656-3996 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 2012, data 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 PinkConcussions.com. 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 PinkConcussions.com.
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For more information about this study, help in recruiting athletes or to participate in the study, please fill the contact form at PinkConcussions.com or contact:
Dr. Jimmy Sanderson