Understanding more about the effects of concussion in women’s contact sports will be the focus of a new study by James Cook University.
Researchers have put the call out for female athletes who compete in rugby league, rugby union or Australian rules football in Townsville, ahead of the 2023 season.
JCU PhD candidate Catherine de Hollander has says the study will measure the of impact of collisions on short-term and long-term health.
“We know female athletes are more likely to get concussions and they’re typically more severe than those experienced by males,” she says.
“So, we’re trying to understand if that’s because women endure more head injuries on the field over the course of a season, or if women are actually more susceptible to such an injury.”
Ms de Hollander will use 20 specially designed mouthguards which will record data of player movements in real-time, including acceleration, velocity and direction of impact.
The study will run between three and four years.
“We want to be able to get a long-term picture of the effects of concussion, which would contribute to research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy,” Ms de Hollander says.
“If players do leave their teams, the mouthguards can be remoulded only once more for a new player, so theoretically, we have the ability to monitor up to 40 players over the course of the study.”
Ms de Hollander is ideally looking for volunteers from one contact sports team for the study, but is open to monitoring a second team as well.
Female athletes wishing to participate are urged to contact Catherine de Hollander via email on firstname.lastname@example.org