U of M studies concussions among female athletes

6:36 AM, Oct 10, 2011   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Sports concussions shouldn't be a men-only topic.

"The untold story is female athletes and concussions," says Dr. Nicole M. La Voi from the U of M's Tucker Center for Research on Girl and Women in Sport. "We're bringing this to the forefront."

The Tucker Center along with Twin Cities Public Television have produced a one-of-a-kind documentary about female athletes and concussion injuries. The one-hour program will raise awareness surrounding head injuries in women's sports and layout the need for further research.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions," says Dr. La Voi. "Girls may experience concussions similar to boys and we need to know that. There might be differences in symptoms and recovery and we need to know that too."

The documentary features local athletes who've suffered serious shots to the head.

"I was going up for a rebound at basketball practice," says Natalie Eull, a basketball player at DeLaSalle High School. "A teammate elbowed my in the head and I fell backward."

The junior suffered a concussion last season and experienced headaches, nausea, and sensitivity to light. Eight months later, doctors finally cleared her to play hoops again.

"It was an awful experience," says Eull, who is featured in the documentary. "I hope this project brings awareness to athletes and coaches because it's a serious thing."

Head injuries and concussions have received more attention in recent years, thanks to rule changes in the NFL and the NHL. Dr. La Voi says the next group of athletes that needs to be the focus is young women. 

"We need parents, coaches, and athletes to be more educated about concussions so we can help prevent them and help them recover," says Dr. La Voi. "That's the goal of this project."

The documentary will air Sunday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. on TPT. It will also be made available on the Tucker Center's website later this month and copies will be distributed to schools and coaches around the state.

(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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