When Katherine Snedaker voluntarily led a support group for high school students with post-concussion syndrome, she hardly expected it’d launch a new career.
Her group consisted of 13 students—coincidentally, all female. She spent the following ten weeks in the fall of 2012 hearing their stories, eventually realizing she wanted to do more.
“And from there, I started Pink Concussions,” said Snedaker.
Pink Concussions is a registered non-profit that raises awareness about female concussions, while providing resources to those affected.
So far, she has led the way in Connecticut by compiling statistics on female head injuries. She hopes to better understand who suffers from concussions, while giving females a sense of community in a conversation she feels hardly crosses over gender lines.
“I think female head injuries have been marginalized within the entire concussion field just because it’s such a new and emerging field,” said Snedaker. “We naturally think, ‘Well, let’s look at the football players. Let’s look at the boys.’”
In doing so, she compiled information provided by Norwalk Public Schools. The district keeps track of every reported concussion, both in and out of school athletics.
Her data, collected between August 2014 and June 2015, shows 111 total concussions, or roughly 1 percent of the district’s 11,000 students. Girls consisted of 57 of those 111 concussions, slightly more than the 54 from their male counterparts.
However, fewer than half, or 51 of the 111 reported concussions, happened during an athletic event. That number decreases even more among females, with 63 percent of concussions happening outside of sports.
Snedaker’s data reflects just one school year in one district, however, she hopes with more research, she can help add resources to what she believes is an underserved community.
“I would like to see neurologists, family practitioners and athletic trainers acknowledge female head injury is different and start putting some female protocol around [female concussions],” said Snedaker.