Norwalk Woman Spins TV Gaffe Into Women's Concussion Website

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Norwalk's Katherine Snedaker, shown with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, has launched a website dedicated to providing information on concussions in women and girls. Photo Credit: Contributed

NORWALK, Conn. – A Super Bowl-day blunder by one of the nation’s top sportscasters propelled Norwalk’s Katherine Snedaker to create a website on concussions in women and girls. In just a few weeks, the impact has been profound.

“This is the first website to focus on female concussions,’’ said Snedaker, who launched Pinkconcussions.com just a few days after the Super Bowl. “We’ve already got about 150 Twitter followers and big traffic on the site. Concussions hadn’t been sliced into a women-specific site before. There are data points about it, but they are subparagraphs in other studies.”

CBS broadcaster Jim Nantz provided the impetus for her to launch the site, Snedaker says. On "Face The Nation" on Super Bowl day, Nantz said: “Research shows that at the college level, a women’s soccer player is two-and-half times more likely to suffer a concussion than a college football player. I don’t hear anyone saying right now, ‘Should we pull our daughter in these soccer programs?’”

People in the concussion world “flipped out” over Nantz’s comment, Snedaker said. “He took two different statistics and put them together,’’ she said. “It’s comparing apples and oranges. His heart was in the right place, but he messed up the data. But he did more for girls with that one statement than anything that’s even been done before. Sometimes a social gaffe illuminates the topic a little bit more.”

Snedaker’s point is that it’s illogical to compare male football players with female soccer players. And concussions do not always occur in sports: 80 percent of concussions occur outside of athletics, she said.

“We do know some basic facts about females and concussions,’’ Snedaker said. “They concuss at a higher rate, and they heal slower. They also report more, and they’re more honest. Generally, they have more symptoms per concussion than boys. There just aren’t any good statistics out there. I don’t believe anything before 2008, because that’s when the definition crystallized on what exactly a concussion is. Females and concussions hasn’t been a central focus of any one study.”

She launched Sports Capp.com to help recreation teams, town leagues and private schools build concussion awareness into their programs. Snedaker is also the founder of Team Concussion, a web-based support group for teens who have suffered concussions. She has suffered double-digit concussions as well, and her three boys have also suffered concussions.

She will work on a committee in Washington on Feb. 25 created by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council to review evidence of sports-related concussions in youth, including risk factors, protective equipment and screening, diagnosis and management.

“Male football players are the focus of most media,’’ said Snedaker, who learned in January that she has breast cancer. “But there are many women out there suffering. Women would rather tell you their dress size than tell you how many concussions they’ve had. The depth of what we know is out there is shallow or buried. Maybe a lot has been done, and we don’t know about it. We have to find out.”

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Comments (9)

compassionateMD:

Ms Snedaker has made an impressive impact in the quest to prevent, recognize and treat concussions in both males and females. Concussive injuries are often under-diagnosed and dismissed as unimportant. We are so fortunate to have someone like Ms Snedaker as our local advocate with the skills to help manage the devastating effects of this common form of brain injury.

Blabbermouth68:

I made a couple of comments about this particular new "cause", and its leader--clean and humorously mocking--and my comment was deleted. Anyone involved with an organization named "Pink Concussions" should expect such comments; and perhaps the editor should wear a helmet rather than subject him-or herself to a bit of parody.

pricesned:

Dear Blabbermouth68 - I am sorry your comments were deleted. I checked with Tom Renner and he didn't delete them. Please repost them. I named the site PinkConcussions.com to generate interest - negative and positive. I would rather anyone have passion about this topic in either direction than apathy.

I was once called "Dollar Roger's Bimbo of the Week" or maybe "Blond Bimbo of the week," and I got more hits on my site than from anything I had said at the meeting with the NFL. I can always take a joke, and the blogger, a former NFL player, who called me Roger's Bimbo is one of my closest friends in the concussion world and we exchange concussion news on a daily basis.

So please post away... I can take a joke or a clever comment any day. Thanks for caring enough to post - twice.

Blabbermouth68:

Pricened: It's difficult to be mean posting against someone as nice as you--but I'll make the effort. I consider the point in fooling around on a little site like this to vent and have fun. Good luck.

Blabbermouth68:

And the only "blonde bimbo" in that picture is Goodell. He is politically correct to the max, and despised by most of the players in the league.

MR.M:

Relax, the error was simply comparing the occurrence of concussions in one female
sport with another sport for men.
It is true that concussions with females is a real topic
that many people would be
interested in learning more
about.

pricesned:

Thanks for the supportive post. I appreciate it.

RG of Mayo:

I do not see the "Gaffe" or "blunder" by Jim Nantz. This lady claims there is one but doesn't say what specifically it was or provide what in her estinmation is the correct information. He stated that one group of athletes is 2.5x more likely than an other to get a concussion. He also referenced all of the recent "maybe I shouldn't let my kid participate in XXX sport" commotion. All she says is "apples and oranges." On this sand she intends to build a movement? And, just what exactly is her movement trying to do??

pricesned:

Thanks for being interested enough to comment and I would love to answer your questions.

I am a concussion education expert with a Masters Degree in Social Work and a background in coaching youth sports. I have been working in this field for almost a decade. I have recently been asked to present to a national level committee in DC next Monday to share my experience in the concussion field.

The idea for PinkConcussions.com originated from a misquote on Super Bowl Sunday 2013, when a journalist stated that female soccer players concussed at a higher rate then male football players on a pre-game TV show. The correct reference should have been," Recent data suggest that in sports with similar rules, female athletes sustain more concussions than their male counterparts." Source: American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Position Statement: Concussion in Sport, 2012.

This “misquote” caused a controversy as press and sports fans scrambled to google the correct statistics. But statistics about female concussions are not easy to find as they are buried in short paragraphs in larger research studies.

For example, the correct quote above from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Position Statement: Concussion in Sport 2012, is not found until a section titled Sex, on page six of the report. This report is an excellent summary of concussions in sports, but I wanted to highlight the findings on women's concussions.

- Recent data suggest that in sports with similar rules female athletes sustain more concussions than their male counterparts. Page 6

- Recent data suggest that in sports with similar rules female athletes sustain more concussions than their male counterparts. Page 6

- 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. Page 6

- A decreased head–neck segment mass of female athletes compared to male athletes may contribute to greater angular acceleration of the head after a concussive impact as a mechanism for more severe injury. Page 6

- Oestrogen and differential cerebral blood flow may also play a role in influencing concussion severity and outcome. Page 6

- A further study is needed to understand if sex is a risk factor for concussion and what mechanisms may account for it, or if sex is merely a predictor of symptom reporting. Page 6

To quote you, "On this sand she intends to build a movement? And, just what exactly is her movement trying to do??"

The sand is actually some rather good studies showing a difference between male and female concussions. And yes, I would like to assist the current movement of concussion educators and doctors to help youth athletes, and youth in general, learn about concussions, reduce their risks and know how best to treat any head injury. My part of the movement would give female concussion info a website, twitter feed, and a international stage on which parents, coaches and kids can find answers and hope for those who suffer from concussions.

Thanks,

Katherine Snedaker
Www.SportsCAPP.com
Www.PinkConcussions.com

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