Concussion research takes recent grad overseas

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Contributed image

Laura Fedy, a recent graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University and Michael Cinelli, a Laurier professor, will be attending and speaking at the fifth annual International Consensus Conference on Concussions in Sport in Berlin this coming October.

The conference, held every four years, consists of those from around the world who are leaders in concussion research. These individuals produce a consensus statement, which regards the state of affairs of concussions at that point in time.

This includes the validated techniques to diagnose and manage concussions, as well as prevention and protocols in regards to the injury.

Fedy and Cinelli plan to present their findings at the conference. Specifically, they will be speaking about their research in regards to balance recovery after a concussion occurs.

Cinelli, an associate professor in kinesiology and physical education at Laurier, began conducting concussion research in 2010.

Together, Fedy and Cinelli began doing balance control studies with varsity athletes at Laurier.

Hoping to create a test that would help to understand whether people had recovered fully from their concussion, they found huge gaps in their discoveries.

“One of the problems with concussions is people assume that once you’re symptom free, you are clear of the concussion,” explained Cinelli.   

The research showed that balance control did not necessarily recover after the symptoms had dissipated, as each individual demonstrates various issues of balance control post-concussion. Once they compared the behaviours of people with base line testing, the research started to show the extent of the differences in balance control abilities or impairments.

“We were then determining how necessary it is to get baseline tested, so you have a comparison for if you were to get a concussion,” said Fedy.

Fedy’s interest in concussion research began when she was approached by Team Up Against Concussions Laurier, who was recruiting volunteers to join their group in the second-year of her undergraduate degree.

“Just from this group I saw that there were a lot of gaps in research on concussions and also a lack of information that the public knows about concussions and on  how to handle them,” explained Fedy.

Passionate about concussions and possessing the desire to help more people heal, rather than hurt, Fedy decided to focus on concussion research for her fourth-year thesis study and undergraduate research topic.

Fedy plans to attend graduate school in the future to pursue a career in physiotherapy or as a chiropractor.

“My goal, ultimately, is to open a clinic for both research purposes and treating purposes for concussions.”

Fedy explained how getting involved and conducting research at Laurier greatly helped her to clarify her future goals, noting that Laurier, being a smaller campus, allowed her to work with professors who helped her narrow in on something she enjoys.

“If I didn’t do this research,” she said, “it wouldn’t have led me to where I know I want to go in the future.”

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